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Cephalo-Pelvic Disproportion

What Is Cephalo-Pelvic Disproportion?

Cephalo-pelvic disproportion (CPD) is a complication of delivery that means the baby's head or body is too big to fit through the pelvic region. It is most common in women with smaller pelvic regions, or in babies that are too large because of hereditary factors or gestational diabetes. It can also occur in pregnancies that were allowed to go too long post-term.

Complications of CPD

Cephalo-pelvic disproportion is a concern because a baby could experience signs of fetal distress. These include decreased heart rate and oxygen deprivation. If the baby cannot be delivered in a timely manner, both the mother and baby could be in critical danger.

A doctor may use a variety of methods to help deliver the baby, including using forceps or vacuums to pull the baby through the cervix. However, these can cause complications of their own. Incorrectly using delivery aid methods may lead to cephalohematoma, Erb's palsy and other birth injuries. The safest and surest way to deliver the baby is through Cesarean section.

Diagnosing and Preventing CPD

Most cases of CPD are not diagnosed until the day of delivery, and thus, can rarely be prevented. In normal deliveries, a baby's head will mold to move through the pelvic region. It can be expected that this will occur even when it is known a mother's pelvic region is small or a baby's fetal size is large. The actions taken once CPD is diagnosed can make a difference in the safety of the baby.

A doctor may diagnose CPD when labor progress is below the standard and attempts to provide medical assistance do not work. Following diagnosis, a doctor must decide whether to risk using forceps and vacuums or if C-section is necessary. Failing to take action in a timely manner can result in serious or fatal complications and birth injuries.

The Birth Injury Team is a subsidiary of Silvers, Langsam & Weitzman, P.C., made up of experienced attorneys and medical professionals. Our lawyers have more than 100 years of combined experience handling birth injury cases. We are dedicated to helping parents understand their child's condition and guiding them through the process of securing the care and support they need. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients across the United States.


Located in Philadelphia, Silvers, Langsam & Weitzman, P.C., home of MyPhillyLawyer, serves clients in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, and throughout the United States.

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