Expectant mothers in Texas may want to know about a birth injury called caput succedaneum. This refers to the swelling of an infant’s head that may occur not long after delivery. Continual pressure on the infant’s head during delivery, especially when there is a lot of pushing during labor, can cause this condition.
The risk for developing caput succedaneum depends on how much fluid is in the amniotic sac and for how long. If the amniotic sac membranes burst early during labor, or if fluid levels are low, then the mother’s pelvic bones will exert pressure on the baby’s head. The risk can also increase in the event that vacuum suction or forceps are used during delivery.
Not only will the skin on the baby’s head be swollen, but it will also feel soft and may produce a dimple if pressed upon. Bruising may be present, but not to the extent seen in other conditions like cephalohematoma (when blood pools under the scalp).
Caput succedaneum does not damage the brain or cranial bones. It usually clear ups in a few days without the need for treatment and without long-term effects. Infants risk developing jaundice as a complication, but the Mayo Clinic says this should, in turn, clear up within two to three weeks.
As for whether this condition could form the basis of a malpractice case, it is a complicated matter. Parents may want to see a lawyer before moving forward with a claim. They may also have the lawyer investigate the case with the help of third parties. The lawyer might request an inquiry with the local medical board. If there is clear proof that the doctors or nurses were negligent, the case might be strong.