The condition in which an unborn baby’s head is too big to pass through the mother’s birth canal is called cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD). CPD is a relatively rare condition and can result in serious complications for the mother and child. In order to avoid these complications, CPD must be treated skillfully by the medical professionals attending to the mother and delivering the baby.
About one out of every 250 births in the United States is affected by CPD. CPD represents a serious challenge for medical professionals, the mother giving birth, and the baby because it can cause a woman’s labor to become prolonged, and as a result cause her attending medical professionals to take extraordinary steps to deliver the baby.
For this reason, it is best when CPD is diagnosed in advance and doctors have time to plan for a successful delivery.
The Causes and Symptoms of CPD
There are various causes of CPD, including:
- Gestational diabetes
- Genetic factors
- The shape of a woman’s pelvis
Symptoms Arising from CPD Include:
- Fetal distress – Fetal distress occurs when the unborn baby experiences an irregular heartbeat due to a lack of oxygen, particularly during the birthing process. Fetal distress is thought to be a significant cause of cerebral palsy.
- Prolonged labor – Prolonged labor occurs when a woman’s labor does not follow a standard progression, but instead proceeds too slowly or stops all together. Prolonged labor can be caused by CPD, and can lead to the baby suffering from significant birth injuries.
- Polyhydramnios – This condition occurs when there is an excess of amniotic fluid, as larger children release increased levels of fluids. This is a sometimes dangerous condition and can also lead to significant birth injuries or even death.
How Cephalopelvic Disproportion is Diagnosed
There are various ways in which doctors may diagnose CPD, including with the use of MRI, x-ray, and ultrasound technology, and by performing an exam called clinical pelvimetry.
After a physician has identified that a woman may be suffering from CPD, he or she will usually order testing in order to determine if gestational diabetes is the cause.
Once all the relevant causative factors are identified the physician will then inform the expectant mother of the results, and devise a plan for how to proceed and deliver the baby.
Complications Associated with CPD and Birth
CPD increases a woman’s chances of experiencing birth complications. For example, her chances of uterine rupture increase if she suffers from CPD, especially if she has given birth by cesarean in the past.
Also, CPD increases the risk that the child may become stuck in the birth canal during birth. Because medical professionals must take aggressive steps to free a child in such a situation, the risk of injury to the child and mother is real.
When a woman suffering from CPD suffers injuries during the birthing process, or when her baby suffers birth injuries, the fault may lie with the medical professionals who treated her before birth or assisted during the labor and delivery.
A failure to perform the proper screening, recognize the warning signs of CDP, or exercise the proper care while delivering the baby can all lead to the mother and/or child suffering serious injury.
Contact a Birth Injury Attorney
If you suffered from CPD, and your child was born with birth injuries – such as cerebral palsy – your baby’s condition may be a result of medical negligence. Contact a birth injury attorney in your area today to discuss the conditions surrounding your pregnancy and birth or learn more about birth injury claims.