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An overview of cephalohematoma

Expectant mothers in Texas should know about a condition called cephalohematoma, which can develop if too much pressure is placed on the baby's head during delivery. Such trauma, even when minor, can rupture the small blood vessels in the baby's head and cause blood to pool (hematoma) underneath the scalp. The pooling is gradual, so cephalohematoma is usually detected hours or days after birth.

The pressure may be caused by a difficult delivery, or the doctors may exert it by using forceps or vacuum extractors. Various factors raise the risk for cephalohematoma, including fetal macrosomia (babies who are larger than normal), weak uterine contractions and abnormal fetal presentation, such as the occipital posterior or transverse occipital position. Male babies are more likely to suffer from the condition, but the reason for this is unclear.

The pool of blood lies at the top of the head and does not harm the brain. In most cases, the clotted blood will be completely absorbed in a few weeks. Parents should nevertheless be on the lookout for any behavioral changes in their baby, including refusal to eat and an increase in crying and sleepiness. If doctors do not diagnose the condition by observation alone, they may request X-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds or other tests.

The parents of a baby who suffers from cephalohematoma or a different birth injury may be able to file a claim; although, they will likely want to see a lawyer before moving forward. Malpractice claims end in some of the highest settlements in the personal injury field, but a lawyer may hire investigators, medical professionals and other third parties to make a case stronger. The lawyer might even handle all negotiations if the other side is willing to settle out of court.

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