What causes swelling of the head in babies depends on a number of factors. In some children who experienced a prolonged, difficult birth, it may be normal to see some swelling of the head for their first few days.
Some causes of newborn head swelling include:
- Caput succedaneum
- Infant cephalohematoma
- Head injury or traumatic brain injury
- Some congenital disorders
If your newborn has bruised or swollen areas on their head, their doctor should take the time to evaluate their symptoms, diagnose the cause, and look for additional injuries. In general, minor swelling likely only requires observation by the parents, but it is important to rule out more dangerous causes. The care team at the hospital should also brief the parents on what to expect before discharging the mother and baby.
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Caput Succedaneum and Cephalohematoma May Cause Head Swelling in Newborns
Caput succedaneum is perhaps the most common reason for a swollen area on a newborn’s head. This swelling develops before or during delivery and may occur in babies born with the help of a vacuum extractor or similar device. This type of swelling is generally benign and goes away within a few days.
Cephalohematomas, meanwhile, appear in the first hours following birth and occur because of a bleed between the scalp and the skull. Sometimes, this type of injury is benign and heals on its own in a few weeks. However, as many as 25 percent of all cephalohematomas in newborns may be related to a skull fracture, according to Swaiman’s Pediatric Neurology (Sixth Edition). Your child’s doctor may need to order medical imaging and a neurologic examination to rule out more serious injuries. Complications for infant cephalohematoma can also include anemia, jaundice, or infection.
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Head Injuries May Also Occur as a Result of Birth Trauma
When a newborn experiences a long, difficult, and traumatic birth, they can suffer a number of birth injuries. Doctors must monitor both the mother and baby to look for signs that a vaginal birth may be difficult or impossible. If they fail to do so, the result may be:
- A difficult birth
- An increased risk to both mother and child
- The need to use an assistive device to deliver the child
- The need to order an emergency cesarean section delivery
All of these concerns may increase the risk that the baby could suffer a head injury or traumatic brain injury during labor and delivery. This could cause their head to swell. In addition, a traumatic injury such as being dropped after delivery can cause head injury and brain damage.
Newborn Head Swelling and Birth Injury Claims
What causes swelling of the head in babies can have a significant impact on whether or not your child’s case supports legal action against the doctor or hospital. If you can show that your child’s swelling and head injury occurred as a result of medical negligence, you may be able to pursue a medical malpractice birth injury claim.
Some ways medical negligence could cause a swollen head include:
- The doctor failed to properly monitor the pregnancy, labor, and delivery
- The doctor used forceps or a vacuum extractor improperly
- The doctor or another care provider dropped the baby or otherwise caused a traumatic injury
- The doctor failed to diagnose a condition based on your baby’s head swelling
- The doctor misdiagnosed your baby’s swollen head, causing their condition to worsen
If you believe any of these or other circumstances occurred with your child’s injuries, you may be able to pursue the hospital for compensation in a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit.
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Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group Today
The Birth Injury Lawyers Group helps families whose children were injured during prenatal care or delivery. If doctor negligence caused your child’s birth injuries, we may be able to help you fight for compensation in settlement negotiations or on trial. We can compile your child’s medical records, interview witnesses, and enlisting the expertise of a medical expert to assist with your case.
You can get help today by calling the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529. Our team will review your case at no cost to you and help you understand your rights.
We handle birth injury cases on a contingency-fee basis with nothing due upfront. In this arrangement we collect our attorney’s fees from the settlement or payment our clients secure, if and when we win their case.