Caput succedaneum is the clinical term for infant head malformation. This condition refers to the swelling that forms around an infant’s skull right after a difficult delivery, giving the baby a “conehead” appearance.
What Causes the Scalp to Swell?
During childbirth, especially when the baby comes out head-first, any extra pressure that is exerted on a baby’s head could damage the scalp. This pressure could be a result of prolonged labor, vacuum extractor or forceps assistance, or premature rupture of membranes (PROM).
The malformation on an infant’s scalp looks like a lump or bump on the head. Under normal circumstances, caput succedaneum is harmless. It would not indicate damage to the brain or the bones of the cranium. However, in some cases, it could lead to more serious issues.
In most babies, the swelling typically disappears within a few days without medical intervention. What doctors have to look out for is bruising, which could be a sign of other complications such as jaundice, alopecia (baldness), or infection.
When caput succedaneum is accompanied by other evidence of birth trauma such as intracranial bleeding, it can cause long-term damage.
In this article, you will learn the causes, symptoms, and treatment of caput succedaneum, as well as legal remedies that are available to you in the event of a birth trauma injury. You should always talk to a dedicated lawyer if you have any questions.
Causes of Caput Succedaneum
A dilated cervix or vaginal wall can exert prolonged pressure on a baby’s head and cause swelling, puffiness, and bruising. When a woman goes through difficult labor with a lot of pushing, caput succedaneum is likely to occur. Another cause of swelling is the use of vacuum suction or forceps during delivery.
In some cases, the amniotic membranes rupture early in labor and leave very little fluid in the sac. When this happens, the mother’s pelvic bones tend to add pressure on the baby’s head. An ultrasound can be detected scalp swelling that occurs pre-labor.
Risk Factors of Caput Succedaneum
In addition to excessive pressure on the baby’s head, pregnancy complications are also likely to cause caput succedaneum. These include: