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What is Cephalopelvic Disproportion?

Colburn Law

Answered: What is CPD?


When you welcome a new baby into your family, you hope that the labor and delivery process is smooth and free of complications. Unfortunately, birth injury and medical negligence can lead to significant consequences for mothers and infants alike.

One of these birth injuries is cephalopelvic disproportion or CPD. CPD occurs when the head of a baby is too large to fit through the mother’s pelvis. Doctors, nurses, obstetricians, and other members of the labor and delivery team must act quickly to ensure a safe delivery.

If they fail to take action, mom and baby could suffer injuries and the medical professionals could be guilty of medical malpractice. For more information, contact a Seattle birth injury attorney today.

What Causes Cephalopelvic Disproportion?

There are many reasons while CPD may occur. An infant may be in an abnormal fetal position that makes labor and delivery complicated. The mother may have a small pelvis or an abnormally shaped pelvis. In addition, a baby may be abnormally large due to the following factors.

  • Diabetes
  • Multiparity, or the child is not the mother’s first pregnancy
  • Postmaturity, or the child was born after the due date
  • Hereditary factors

Signs of CPD

Usually, doctors do not discover CPD until the labor and delivery process begins. Your medical team should look out for certain signs that indicate that your child is suffering from CPD, including the following.

  • An abnormally large volume of amniotic fluid
  • Common signs of fetal distress, including a low heart rate or oxygen levels
  • A labor that is taking longer than average
  • A large distance between the pubic bone and the top of the uterus

Failure to detect CPD and act quickly to protect the mother and the child can lead to significant injury and even death.

Cephalopelvic Disproportion & Birth Injury Negligence

When a doctor detects CPD, he or she must take action as quickly as possible. Usually, the delivery will occur via C-section instead of vaginal birth. Failure to properly monitor a child can lead to a doctor missing the signs of CPD. Since it is the medical team’s job to ensure a safe delivery, any injuries that occur as a result of CPD could be grounds for medical malpractice and a birth injury lawsuit.

More: Guide To Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Some examples of CPD malpractice include the following.

  • Failure to order a C-section in a timely manner
  • Giving a mother too many labor-inducing drugs in order to speed up the delivery process
  • Using forceps or other tools to forcefully pull a baby through a too-small pelvis
  • Failure to properly assess the size of a baby’s head through ultrasound readings

Contact Colburn Law Today

Many of these mistakes can lead to life-altering injuries to the child and the mother alike. Delaying a C-section could put the mother and the infant’s lives at risk, and a child could lose oxygen and suffer permanent damage during a delayed labor. A mother could experience uterine rupture by using too many labor-inducing drugs, and forcing a child through a narrow pelvis can lead to permanent injury.

If you recently gave birth in a Washington hospital and your child suffered injuries as a result of improper CPD action, contact a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. By speaking with a lawyer, you can learn about your legal options and your pathways to compensation. Contact Greg Colburn today to discuss your case and create an action plan.