Caput Succedaneum (Swelling of the Scalp During Labor) Symptoms, Treatment

Caput Succedaneum: It’s a medical condition referring to edema or swelling of an infant’s (new born baby) scalp on the head after delivery.

The post explains if there is anything you need to do in such cases. You will also know if there occurs any sort of complication to the baby after the birth.

The post will also cover symptoms, treatment and complication (if any) after an infant goes through this phase.


What’s Caput Succedaneum?

Caput Succedaneum basically refers to the swelling on an infant’s scalp right after the delivery. It looks like a small bump on infant’s head that looks abrupt in shape and size.

The above condition is harmless in most of the cases as it happens mainly due to the pressure put on the infant’s head at the time of delivery.

In any case, it doesn’t indicate damage either to the bones of the cranium or brain. But it may lead to some other issues like jaundice.

Sometimes, Caput Succedaneum is confused with another term known as cephalohematoma, which means bleeding under the scalp.


What Are the Causes of caput succedaneum?

In most cases, the above condition develops after baby’s head gets a prolonged pressure from the dilated cervix or vaginal walls that often results in bruising, puffiness and swelling (edema).

The risk of such kind of a swelling also becomes prominent while using forceps and vacuum suction. Another reason of caput succedaneum can be evident after the rupture of amniotic sac membranes early in labor.

There are cases where it’s seen that if amniotic sac membranes rupture too early and the amniotic fluid is not available in much quantity, the mother’s pelvic bones start putting pressure on the infant’s head. This is how such type of infant scalp swelling comes into picture before the start of the labor pain.

If the fluid cushion around the infant lasts longer, the chances of scalp swelling will be lower.


Symptoms of Caput Succedaneum

The main symptom that comes to light in such cases is none other than puffiness under the skin of the scalp.

Since the skin of an infant is already soft and swollen, in may result in a dimple in the flesh. Although, the swelling mainly rests on one side, it may extend over the middle of the scalp.

The part of the skull most affected is the one that comes down first through the birth canal.

The condition of Caput Succedaneum can be seen with symptoms like bruising or discoloration. But this is not anything extensive as seen in cephalohematoma.

Now, once the swelling on baby’s head starts disappearing, it results in the baby’s head to point slightly pointed mainly due to the pressure on the bones of the head. The above condition is often termed as molding.

The above abnormalities are temporary and will go with time. Please note that the bones on your baby’s head are not fused and can easily move without getting damaged. For more clarity, you may go ahead with a physical examination of your newborn infant.


What is the Treatment for Caput Succedaneum?

The condition called caput succedaneum will disappear on its own after some days. If you try to drain the fluid on the scalp of the baby on your own, it may cause infection.


What are the potential complications of caput succedaneum?

The condition often comes with issues like bruising and swelling which may increase the risk of jaundice. It’s a condition where skin color becomes yellow because of the excess of bilirubin in the blood.

There are chances where jaundice goes untreated over a period of time. And this may lead to some more complications coming your way. It’s your responsibility to check if your doctor has addressed all your concerns regarding jaundice.


Is There Any Long-Term Outlook?

There is no treatment required for such a condition. Also, there should be no long term effects arising due to this. In most cases, swelling tends to disappear after some days making the scalp look normal without any swelling.

You might have seen a large or swollen head in infants which is quite normal in caput succedaneum.

The best person to handle such cases will be your baby’s doctor who will monitor his or her condition right after the delivery.

The physician will also monitor if the baby doesn’t has any sort of lasting effect due to this.


Also Read: What Causes Red Veins On Eyelids & How Are They Treated?





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