Even with the many advances made on obstetrical medicine in recent years, the risk of birth injuries remains ever present. One of the more common causes of such injuries is delays in the delivery process. For as many different factors as there are that may complicate a baby’s delivery, there may be just as many potentially harmful outcomes. One of these is an infant cephalohematoma.
This condition occurs when blood vessels in the periosteum (the layer of connective tissue covering the bones) in an infant’s head rupture during delivery. The resulting cerebral hemorrhage causes blood to accumulate between the periosteum and the skull. It may be observed as visible swelling along the baby’s scalp. On its own, a cephalohematoma presents no risk to a baby’s development. However, its presence could be indicative of other problems. The same trauma that induced the subdermal pooling of blood associated with this condition may also have caused other damage, such as a skull fracture. According to the website CerebralPalsySymptoms.com, other conditions for which cephalohematoma may serve as an indicator can result in long-term complications such as:
- Motor skills deficiencies
- Developmental delays
- Cerebral Palsy
One of the primary causes of infant cephalohematomas is the use of delivery assisting tools such as vacuum-extractors and forceps. Such tools may often be employed to assist in delayed delivery cases. In fact, information shared by the CDC showed that they were used in roughly six percent of vaginal deliveries in the U.S. as recently as 2010.
While infant cephalohematomas may resolve themselves on their own, doctors should not dismiss their presence. Further investigation should be done to determine if they could be a sign of a much more serious issue.