What is a cephalohematoma?

During childbirth, there is a small chance that a baby may experience a birth injury. One type of injury that can occur are cephalohematomas.

A cephalohematoma is a collection of blood that forms between the skull bone and the outer covering of the skull, known as the periosteum. It typically appears as a raised bump on the baby’s head, often noticeable a few hours after birth. Cephalohematomas are more common in vaginal deliveries and can occur due to trauma during the birthing process.

Causes and risk factors

Cephalohematomas are usually caused by pressure on the baby’s head during delivery. This can happen if the baby’s head becomes pressed against the mother’s pelvis. While cephalohematomas can impact any baby, certain factors may increase the risk, such as a larger baby size, a prolonged or difficult delivery or the use of forceps or vacuum extraction.

According to data published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, cephalohematomas occur during 0.4 to 2.5% of live births.

Potential complications and treatment

In most cases, cephalohematomas are not a cause for major concern and go away over time. The blood within the hematoma is gradually absorbed by the body. However, it is important to monitor the baby closely for any signs of complications, such as infection or jaundice.

For parents or caregivers, it is natural to have concerns when a baby experiences a birth injury like a cephalohematoma. Although most cephalohematomas resolve on their own without any long-term consequences, some can cause serious challenges for children and parents, so it is important to monitor them closely.

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