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Cephalopelvic Disproportion (CPD)

What Is Cephalopelvic Disproportion?

Cephalopelvic disproportion, or CPD, is a “passenger-fit” disparity that can occur during the labor and delivery process. The baby is the “passenger” who has to “fit” through the mother’s pelvic bones. Birth injuries can occur when CPD is misdiagnosed or handled incorrectly. Below, our Chicago birth injury attorneys discuss causes, risk factors, complications and injuries of cephalopelvic disproportion.

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What Causes Cephalopelvic Disproportion?

CPD occurs when the mother’s pelvic bones are unable to allow the baby to deliver through the vagina. The typical female pelvis is the gynecoid pelvis. It best accommodates delivery of a baby. CPD most often happens when the mother’s pelvis is shaped differently from the gynecoid pelvis. There are three other shapes of pelvises a woman can have that may make delivery of a baby very difficult, if not impossible. CPD is also likely when the baby is large, the baby’s head is turned a certain way, or a combination of the two exist.

How Is Cephalopelvic Disproportion Diagnosed?

Practitioners must assess CPD during the labor process. They assess CPD by determining:
  • If the baby is facing up or down
  • Whether the baby’s chin is tucked down on its chest
  • Amount of descent through the pelvis
  • The way the bones in the baby’s head are accommodating the mother’s pelvis
Practitioners take measurements during a sterile vaginal exam.

What Are Common Risk Factors of Cephalopelvic Disproportion?

CPD can be difficult to diagnose before labor starts. However, risk factors can be assessed prenatally. Risk factors may include:
  • Having had CPD in the past
  • Size of the mother’s pelvis
  • A baby who is not in the normal position for delivery
  • Short maternal height

What Are Potential Complications of Cephalopelvic Disproportion?

CPD birth complications may include prolonged labor, especially in the second stage, for which the baby may not be able to tolerate. A prolonged second stage of labor is associated with:
  • Decreased oxygen delivery to the baby
  • Seizures after birth
  • Risk for cerebral palsy
A difficult delivery due to a “passenger-fit” mismatch between the baby and the mother’s pelvis can result in the following:
  • Brain hemorrhaging
  • Brachial plexus injury
  • Clavicle or skull fractures
  • The baby getting “stuck” in the maternal pelvis
  • Compressed or prolapsed umbilical cords
All these risk factors can contribute to lifelong injury.
Cesarean section is often recommended if the baby is not moving down in the pelvis and exhibits abnormal heart rate patterns. It is important to note that the use of vacuum or forceps when cephalopelvic disproportion is suspected is not advised.

Did Your Baby Suffer an Injury Due to CPD Birth Complications? Contact Our Chicago Birth Injury Attorneys About Your Situation

Did your baby suffer an injury due to CPD birth complications? Please contact our birth injury lawyers to discuss your situation during a free consultation.
Call us at (877) 262-9767 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We represent families nationwide and have offices in Chicago IL, Baltimore MD, New York NY, and Wilmington DE.