Cephalohematomas in newborns are generally the result of a long or difficult labor and delivery. A cephalohematoma is a clot of blood that occurs between the skull and the thin membrane that covers the skull, so they do not affect the brain. However, they can co-occur with other birth injuries or occur on their own.
One of the main causes for cephalohematoma really any type of birth trauma that is significant enough to rupture blood vessels under the skin on the scalp or head. The prognosis for infants born with a cephalohematoma is very good, although complications are possible.
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Cephalohematoma Is a Result of Head Trauma in an Infant
In general, a cephalohematoma follows a long or difficult delivery. While there are numerous causative factors when it comes to difficult vaginal deliveries, some of the most common include:
- Cephalo-pelvic disproportion
- A baby who is large for their gestational age
- Abnormal fetal presentation
- Twins or other multiple births
- Use of forceps or vacuum extractors, or improper use of these tools
In many cases, cephalohematoma is preventable by performing a cesarean section (C-section) delivery or taking other actions to mitigate the issues the baby may encounter moving from the uterus through the birth canal. Even if it does become necessary to use forceps or another type of assistive device, the doctor can reduce the risk of injury by following all proper protocols and manufacturer’s instructions.
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Most Cephalohematomas Heal on Their Own
In most cases, a cephalohematoma does not require any medical intervention beyond evaluation and observation. The body will usually reabsorb the blood on its own in several weeks to months. Some complications are possible, though. The infant can develop anemia, jaundice, or other blood-related conditions and may require treatment.
In addition, while rare, the child could develop an infection, and an abscess could form. If this occurs, the doctor may need to drain the blood from the child’s head and prescribe antibiotics to prevent meningitis or another serious infection.
A Thorough Evaluation Is Key to Rule Out Other Birth Injuries
Because cephalohematoma is just one type of birth injury that occurs because of a long or difficult delivery, a baby may suffer other, more serious birth injuries at the same time. For this reason, it is imperative that the doctor evaluate the baby after birth.
Staff should continue to observe the child to rule out conditions that could be life-threatening during their first day of life. Children who suffer a traumatic brain injury and have epilepsy as a result often have their first seizure during this period.
The child’s parents should also pay careful attention to developmental milestones to ensure they identify any motor or cognitive impairments as early as possible. While this is unlikely and a cephalohematoma does not indicate any injury to the brain, it is important to diagnose cerebral palsy and other similar conditions as early as possible.
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In some cases, a cephalohematoma may support a birth injury lawsuit. In many cases, cephalohematomas suffered during a long, difficult vaginal birth are preventable. If a doctor monitors the pregnancy and labor as closely as they should, they can catch problems like an unusual presentation or cephalo-pelvic disproportion and order a c-section instead.
This also allows them to avoid forceps or a vacuum extraction device, which is another common cause of cephalohematomas.
To learn if you may have grounds for a cephalohematoma birth injury lawsuit, you need to discuss your case with a medical malpractice lawyer in your state. They can explain:
- Your rights to pursue compensation
- Your options for taking legal action
- The strength of your case
- The types of damages you may be able to recover
- The laws that apply to birth injury cases in your state
- Any deadline that could affect your case
If they believe you have a strong case to prove your doctor acted carelessly or negligently, causing or failing to prevent your child’s injuries, they can help you pursue a payout in your case. This could come as a result of an out-of-court settlement negotiation, or they may file a birth injury cephalohematoma lawsuit on your family’s behalf.
Talk to a Cephalohematoma Birth Injury Attorney Near You
To connect with a birth injury lawyer in your state who is familiar with cephalohematomas and taking on this type of medical malpractice case, reach out to the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today. Call (800) 222-9529 to get started.