Is Infant Cephalohematoma a Birth Injury That Warrants a Medical Malpractice Claim?

Newborn baby crying wearing a hatDuring labor and delivery, a baby’s head travels through the birth canal and undergoes a lot of stress as it tries to squeeze through the pelvic bones. Even in a normal labor, a baby will undergo a great amount of pressure that can lead to bruising and swelling—all perfectly normal results of labor and delivery. However, in more complicated deliveries, a baby’s head may be compressed in the birth canal for a longer period of time, which may increase an infant’s chance of cephalohematoma.

What Is Infant Cephalohematoma?

A hematoma is a collection of blood within the tissue. A cephalohematoma is a hematoma that develops on a baby’s head, under the skin but above the skull. Because of its location, it will appear that there is a lump on the infant’s head that may feel soft and squishy.

Causes of Infant Cephalohematoma

This condition typically occurs due to the difference in sizes between the infant’s head and mother’s pelvis. When a mother’s pelvis is small and the baby is relatively big, the baby has a greater chance of developing a cephalohematoma due to the baby’s head scraping along the sides of the birthing canal and the stress of being squeezed through the bones of the pelvis.

Infant cephalohematoma may also occur due to doctor’s negligence. If a physician misuses a birth-assisting tool such as forceps or vacuum extractor, more pressure can be placed on the baby’s skull which can increase the risk of a cephalohematoma. In addition, a doctor may have failed to notice the extreme difference between a baby and mother’s pelvic size and should have performed a C-section.

Cause for Concern?

When it comes to brain injuries that newborns experience at birth, infant cephalohematoma is one of the most minor injuries because this type of injury typically doesn’t require any medical attention. In general, most cephalohematomas go away on their own and don’t present any cause for future concern or medical treatment. This is because pools of clotted blood are typically reabsorbed by the body. And because the brain injury occurs above the skull, there is no risk for brain damage.

If bruising to the skull or a skull fracture occurred along with the cephalohematoma or if the cephalohematoma is too large, further medical care will be needed. Although it is rare that an infant cephalohematoma alone would be a cause of concern and lead to long-term complications, it is possible.

If you feel like your baby suffered a preventable birth injury due to medical malpractice, Contact Us so we can investigate if medical negligence occurred and how our law firm can help you seek justice and just compensation.