Cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD) is when your baby’s head or body part is too large to fit through your pelvis or birth canal during labor. It has also been referred to as a "failure to progress" or "failure to descend" during labor. With CPD, your baby is stuck in the birth canal and with each contraction is being pushed against an opening that is not big enough to allow your baby's head to descend or move further down in the birth canal. The longer the baby is allowed to be stuck in the birth canal, the higher the risk of fetal distress or brain injury. Even if you had normal vaginal deliveries in the past, it does not mean that you can't develop CPD with your current pregnancy. Every baby is different and every pregnancy is different. If cephalopelvic disproportion is not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner, both you and your newborn can both suffer significant labor or birth injuries.
Cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD) can be caused by:
- A small pelvis
- Baby lying in a breech or transverse lie position
- An abnormally shaped pelvis
- A baby with hydrocephaly or large head circumference
- A large baby due to hereditary factors, gestational diabetes, post date or it is not your first pregnancy. Subsequent pregnancies tend to produce larger babies.
If it is your first pregnancy, it is not uncommon for it to take quite a bit of time to fully dilate and start pushing. In addition, some women naturally have quick deliveries where other women take longer so the length of your labor does not mean that there is CPD. As long as your are progressing, dilating, and your baby is moving further down in the birth canal, your labor is moving along. It is when labor is prolonged without any changes in your baby's station or position that should have your obstetrician (OB), nurse practitioner, nurse midwife or family doctor questioning whether there is CPD. If there is inadequate progress during labor or pushing, your doctor or midwife should consider whether you need a C-section or not due to possible CPD.
If there was CPD and you required a C-section you may notice that your baby has severe head molding, a cone shaped head or a cephalohematoma (blood collection under the scalp) due to being stuck in the birth canal and being pushed against the pelvic bones. If your health care provider did not perform a C-section sooner due to the cephalopelvic disproportion your baby could have developed fetal distress and a brain injury due to medical negligence.
The nationally known Beasley birth injury law firm in Philadelphia has been successfully litigating labor injury cases with substantial results. In addition to our experienced attorneys, we also have on staff two physicians and three registered nurses, two of them that specialized in pregnancy, labor and delivery, and newborn care, in addition to decades of expertise that made us a leader in this field. Our collective knowledge assisted in obtaining two of the largest medical negligence verdicts in Pennsylvania history, $100 million and $55 million, as well as countless other multimillion dollar judgments and settlements. To date, we have been awarded over $2 billion dollars on behalf of our clients.
We understand all the pain and suffering you and your family are experiencing right now and we can help you. If you or your baby has been injured due to CPD, please feel free to contact one of our experienced Philadelphia fetal distress lawyers, doctors or nurses at (215) 866-2424.