Infant Cephalohematoma

What is Infant Cephalohematoma?

Infant cephalohematoma is a birth injury that results in the collection of blood between the skull and the periosteum (the membrane covering the skull). Though this condition has similar causes as caput succedaneum, it deals with swelling between the layers of the skin, instead of underneath it. Infant cephalohematoma occurs in 1 to 2 percent of all live births and usually resolves on its own.

What Causes Infant Cephalohematoma?

Infant cephalohematoma is a minor birth injury that occurs most commonly during delivery. Any sort of trauma to an infant’s head can result in cephalohematoma; however, it is usually associated with the use of birth-assisting devices. When a delivery has become difficult or is taking a long time, physicians use these tools to advance the birthing process, but apply more pressure to the baby’s head and skull in the process.

The longer it takes to deliver a baby, the higher chance that baby has of developing cephalohematoma. This is because the baby’s head is being constantly compressed in the birth canal, and when this stress is combined with force by a physician or their tools, it can rupture the blood vessels beneath the skin.

Infant cephalohematoma also occurs when an infant is bigger than normal. Large fetuses undergo greater amounts of stress and compression during delivery, increasing their risk of complications. Other factors that contribute to infant cephalohematoma include the size of the mother’s birth canal and pelvis.

The relationship between the size of an infant’s head and the size of a mother’s pelvis is referred to as cephalopelvic disproportion. The more disproportionate this is, the more likely blood vessels will rupture and cause the development of cephalohematoma.

What are the Symptoms of Infant Cephalohematoma?

The symptoms of infant cephalohematoma are difficult to identify because they are experienced internally. The most obvious symptom will be a soft bulge on the back of a newborn’s skull. This will form around 24 to 48 hours after delivery, not immediately. Other symptoms that indicate the possibility of infant cephalohematoma are:

  • Anemia
  • Infection
  • Jaundice

If you notice any of these symptoms following the delivery of your baby, consult your physician immediately.

Contact Us

At Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., we understand the emotional and financial stress families dealing with these kinds of injuries face. Our birth injury attorneys are dedicated to helping you seek the recovery you are entitled to. If you or a loved one has an infant whose been seriously injured due to the negligent conduct of a physician, contact us today. Call 1-800-298-0111 to schedule a free consultation.

*This page is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice by a qualified physician.