Did Cephalopelvic Disproportion Cause My Baby’s Injuries?


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Welcoming a new baby into the family is usually smooth and free of complications. Most pregnancies end with healthy babies and mothers. Unfortunately, some cases have problems, and mothers and their newborns suffer serious medical consequences. Those situations are even worse for families when they occur due to medical negligence on the part of doctors or nurses.

One complication that has led to birth injuries is called cephalopelvic disproportion, or CPD. Suppose medical professionals do not recognize this condition or fail to take proper action when they do. In that case, it may be considered medical malpractice, and the family may be able to pursue a birth injury lawsuit.

What Is Cephalopelvic Disproportion?

Cephalopelvic disproportion is when the baby’s head is too large to fit through the mother’s birth canal. When CPD is identified, doctors typically schedule delivery by C-section to ensure that neither mother nor the baby is injured during childbirth. However, when physicians don’t recognize CPD or take the proper steps for performing a C-section, it puts the baby and mother at risk.

What Causes Cephalopelvic Disproportion?

Cephalopelvic disproportion refers to the ratio of the baby’s head to the size of the mother’s pelvis. It has nothing to do with the dilating or thinning of the mother’s cervix. In some cases, doctors misdiagnose failure to descend or progress as CPD, but they are not the same thing. However, other factors could cause CPD, including:

  • Mother’s pelvis is abnormally shaped
  • The baby is in an abnormal position
  • Baby’s size is particularly large
  • Baby’s head is abnormally shaped
  • Some of the indications of CPD that doctors should recognize include:
  • Large fundal height (the distance from the pubic bone to the top of the uterus)
  • Excess amniotic fluid
  • Fetal distress
  • Prolonged labor

At the first indication of CPD, doctors should recommend an appropriate treatment for the condition, often a C-section, to prevent injuries to the baby or the mother.

How Does Cephalopelvic Disproportion Lead To Birth Injuries?

Pennsylvania doctors have a legal responsibility to do their jobs with patients' best interests in mind. When they are negligent in exercising reasonable care and treatment, and it results in injury or death, it may be considered medical malpractice, and a birth injury lawsuit can be filed. Medical malpractice in a CPD case can take different forms, including these situations:

  • Failure to properly monitor the baby for signs of fetal distress during labor and delivery
  • Failure to diagnose cephalopelvic disproportion
  • Improper use of delivery instruments like vacuums or forceps
  • Failure to recommend or perform an emergency C-section
  • Lack of proper birthing procedures in response to CPD
  • Tugging or pulling on the baby to free it from the birth canal

Diagnosing CPD can be challenging because it isn’t an exact science. It’s difficult for doctors to diagnose CPD before labor starts because that is when the mother’s pelvic joints spread, making room for the baby to be delivered. Before delivery, however, doctors can measure the size of the baby’s head and its mother’s pelvis, along with monitoring other risk factors that may be present, helping doctors to understand that a C-section may be necessary. The negligent failure to do so can lead to serious birth injuries or even death.

The primary risk involved with CPD is the baby not getting enough oxygen to the brain, which is called hypoxia. This condition can cause irreversible brain damage, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, and death. Even if the infant lives, the birth injuries could affect the child for their entire life.

In Pennsylvania, there is a statute of limitations for birth injury claims. That means there is a time limit on how long you have to file a birth injury claim. So, don’t delay in finding an experienced attorney sooner rather than later.

Contact An Experienced Birth Injury Lawyer In Pennsylvania

The Philadelphia-based birth injury attorneys at Ross Feller Casey believe that families affected by medical negligence deserve compensation for their injuries, pain, and suffering.

At Ross Feller Casey, we have a team of top, Ivy League-trained physicians on staff who assist medical malpractice lawyers in reviewing medical records to determine how the negligence occurred. If your child was injured or died due to a doctor’s failure to diagnose or treat cephalopelvic disproportion, we may be able to help your family hold the responsible parties liable.

Contact the office of Ross Feller Casey for your free case evaluation. We work on a contingency basis, so there are no charges until your case is won or settled.

Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.