Q: My baby was born with a cephalohematoma. When will the lump go away?
A: A cephalohematoma is a pocket of blood (like a bruise) underneath a baby's scalp. It's more likely when forceps or a vacuum extraction is used to help pull a baby out during delivery or when a baby's head is forced up against Mom's pelvic bone during labor. In response to this minor trauma, small tears in the veins just under the baby's scalp can cause blood to collect in the area, forming a lump. Although they may look troubling, cephalohematomas are fairly common (2 percent of all babies get them) and no cause for concern -- they're completely benign and won't cause your baby any pain. In fact, since the lump sits under your baby's scalp, his hair will even grow in right over it. Although the lump will feel like a squishy, water-filled balloon, it doesn't require any special care -- just be gentle when running your hands over it during bathtime.
There's nothing you can do to treat the lump, which will go away within a few weeks or months. Often, the middle of the bump disappears first while the perimeter becomes more rigid (from calcium deposits) before it too goes away. This can make the lump look more like a crater for a while, but rest assured this is normal and just a sign that the hematoma is slowly fading.
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