We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Cephalhematoma?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A cephalhematoma is a birth injury that results in a reddish colored lump on the baby’s head, usually noticeable at birth or shortly thereafter. It is due to bleeding between the bone and the fibrous material that covers it, called the periosteum. This condition typically resolves itself in a few months, but in rare cases, causes additional physical problems or requires some form of intervention.

Cephalhematoma most often occurs when pressure is exerted on the head due to interventional procedures like vacuum extraction or forceps delivery. It can also develop without these interventions, and situations where the baby’s head is subject to birth canal pressure during labor for a protracted period of time may also result in this condition. When babies have it, a squishy or slightly hardened and reddish lump will be quite obvious, and such marring of the newborn’s head can be shocking at first, especially if the lump is very large. Even large lumps may simply go away over time as the red blood cells are broken down and reabsorbed. The biggest risk of re-absorption can be that a baby will develop jaundice from processing so many red blood cells, which can be helped with treatments like a bili blanket.

If cephalhematoma is present, doctors may still want to run other tests. Sometimes its presence can indicate a mild skull fracture, or a very large collection of blood crosses the sutures or un-joined plates of the baby’s skull, and this could be suggestive of problems. Alternately, instead of receding, the cephalhematoma can start to harden due to calcification or ossification (new bone growth).

In rare cases, calcified lumps may still recede, but ossified lumps where bone has grown into the lump, may need surgery. Another possible complication is continued bleeding, which could result in anemia and might require blood transfusion.

It’s important to restate that the cephalhematoma scarcely ever requires treatment. The presence of a cephalhematoma does not suggest, in most instances, that there is permanent or any form of brain damage. In a way, it can be seen as a specialized form of bruise that will almost always improve and ultimately go away over time, though it can take several months for this to occur.

Equally important, is recognition that one injury to the head during a traumatic birth could indicate others. Children with a cephalhematoma should be watched carefully. Any evidence of a failure to meet developmental milestones should be noted to doctors, and if these failures are common and a child seems not to be progressing at a normal rate, consultation with a pediatric neurologist is recommended.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.