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Cephalohematoma: What Causes it and How to Deal with it

Cephalohematoma is a minor birth injury that occurs when blood pools just beneath the skin of the baby’s head. According to studies, cephalohematoma affects 1-2% of live births, making it one of the most common forms of minor birth injury across the country. Although cephalohematoma goes away with proper supervision, some cases of cephalohematoma can be so severe that it might put the baby’s life at great risk.

There are many possible causes of cephalohematoma. According to the website of the Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, LTD., some cases of cephalohematoma have been associated with wrong use of forceps and other instruments during assisted delivery. Forceful instrumentation may cause the blood to pool on top of the baby’s head, causing cephalohematoma. Unfortunately, poor instrumentation during assisted labor is most likely committed by untrained medical staff or reckless health professional.

Apart from forceful instrumentation, a mother’s risk of having a baby with cephalohematoma is higher for first-time pregnancies. Prolonged labor may also result in this condition. Lastly, the risk of cephalohematoma increases if the mother’s pelvic area is smaller than the baby’s head.

Once your baby is born with cephalohematoma, your doctor would do the necessary steps to assess the condition for possible treatments or medications. In most cases, however, cephalohematoma heals on its own within a period of three months.

Most likely, your doctor will also advise you to monitor your baby for any signs of diseases. For instance, babies with cephalohematoma are at higher risk of liver disorders due to increased level of bilirubin – an enzyme that breaks down old red blood cells that have pooled underneath the skin of the baby’s head. So it is important to watch out for symptoms of liver diseases, such as jaundice, to prevent further complications. In extreme cases, doctors may recommend blood transfusion, especially when symptoms of anemia are persistent and if too much blood has pooled on the baby’s head.

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