Chapter 14: The first few hours after the birth
Caputs and hematomas
Some babies have a swelling called a caput in the area that was pressed against the
cervix during labor and birth. A caput usually crosses a suture line. It will go away
in 1 or 2 days.
caput crosses hematoma
If you find a swelling on the head that does not
cross a suture line, it may be a hematoma. This means
that the birth was difficult for the baby. Hematoma
can cause the baby to get jaundice as she heals (see
page 279). If you find a hematoma, check the baby
every day for signs of jaundice until the hematoma is
gone. If possible, get medical advice.
To check the baby’s ears, look straight
into her face. Imagine a line across her
eyes. Some part of each ear should be
above this line.
Some babies with low or uneven ears
have other problems inside their bodies.
A baby with low ears should be watched
carefully. If both ears are below the line,
the baby may have kidney problems and
you should get medical advice.
Ears above the
eyes are normal.
Ears below the eyes
can be sign that
something is wrong.
To check the baby’s hearing, softly clap near the baby’s ear. Most babies
will move when they hear a sound. If the baby does not seem to hear, get
Look at the baby’s eyes. Notice if they seem normal, and if
they move together. A little bit of blood under the surface
of the white part of the eye is normal. The blood should
go away in a few days.
A little blood in the white
part of the eye is normal.
Put medicine in the baby’s eyes to prevent blindness
If a mother has chlamydia or gonorrhea (see page 323), she
may pass it to her baby during birth. The infection gets into
the baby’s eyes, and can cause blindness. Many, many
women have chlamydia or gonorrhea and do not know they
have it. Unless the mother has had a test to show that she
does not have these infections, give the baby medicine in the
eyes to prevent blindness.
A Book for Midwives (2010)