Causes and Symptoms of Caput Succedaneum

Missouri medical professionals must take specific steps to ensure that the mother and the child are safe and healthy throughout pregnancy, labor, and delivery. This includes checking a newborn for common post-birth complications, such as low blood sugar, breathing problems, and birth defects.

Caput succedaneum is one of these issues. This condition, which occurs when an infant’s scalp experiences swelling after birth, is relatively harmless. If not caught in time, however, caput succedaneum can lead to additional complications like jaundice.

Causes of Caput Succedaneum

Caput succedaneum is a type of birth injury that involves an edema, or a swollen lump, that develops on a baby’s scalp. This condition occurs when fluids below the scalp accumulate before or during labor. Usually, caput succedaneum develops after prolonged pressure on the skull during a long or difficult labor. The use of dangerous birthing techniques such as vacuums or forceps may also contribute to this condition.

In other cases, caput succedaneum may occur if the baby’s amniotic sac membranes rupture early during the labor or if there is very little fluid in the amniotic sac. In these situations, the mother’s pelvic bones will place more pressure on the child’s head than if the protective fluid cushion remained intact.

How to Tell If Your Child Has Caput Succedaneum

The most obvious symptom of caput succedaneum is a soft, swollen lump on top of the child’s head. In some cases, multiple lumps may appear across the scalp or on one side of the head. These lumps are usually about one to two centimeters deep and appear on the part of the head that emerges first from the birth canal. Discoloration or bruising may also be apparent, but these symptoms are not as common with caput succedaneum as other head-related birth injuries.

Once the swelling subsides, the child’s head may look pointed or cone-shaped. This condition, known as molding, occurs due to the pressure that the skull bones experienced. Since the bones in a baby’s head are not completely fused at this stage, molding should dissipate over time without significant damage.

Caput succedaneum usually subsides within a few days without significant treatment. However, the swelling and bruising caused by the condition may raise the infant’s risk for jaundice, a serious condition that could lead to dangerous complications without proper treatment. Necessary follow-up care is important to ensure that the child does not develop jaundice.

Can You File a Lawsuit for Caput Succedaneum?

In many cases, caput succedaneum develops due to factors outside of anyone’s control. However, acts of medical malpractice may also lead to this condition. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your child’s caput succedaneum, you could file a lawsuit against the doctor, obstetrician, nurse, or other medical professional responsible for the condition.

For example, if your doctor uses forceps to pull your child out of the birth canal and causes caput succedaneum, he or she commits an act of malpractice. Additionally, if your doctor overprescribes labor-inducing drugs that increase pressure on your child’s head, leading to this condition, you may also have grounds for a lawsuit.

Other medical malpractice claims related to caput succedaneum involve the development of jaundice. If your child develops jaundice after birth and your doctor fails to diagnose the condition in time, he or she may be liable for any harm your child experiences.

If you are unsure whether you have grounds for a claim, speak to a Kansas City medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.