Cephalopelvic Disproportion Lawyers NJ
New Jersey Attorneys for Clients with Cephalopelvic Disproportion Birth Injuries
While the majority of child births are relatively uncomplicated, many are not. Complications often occur when labor is prolonged or overly taxing because a baby is larger than the normal size (over 8 pounds, 13 ounces), the mother’s pelvis is too small to accommodate the size of the baby, or the baby is breech (feet first) or sideways. Under any of these conditions, the fetus can become stuck in the birth canal. A condition known as cephalopelvic disproportion, or CPD, occurs when the dimensions of the mother’s pelvis and the size of the baby’s head are not aligned, which can be dangerous for both mother and child. Difficulties like these can slow or stop labor altogether, potentially causing fetal distress and necessitating a C-section birth.
A physician facing cephalopelvic disproportion must first and foremost be prepared for possible complications and quick decisions based on careful calculation, observation, and experience. Waiting too long to perform a cesarean, even by mere minutes, may result in a baby having brain damage, cerebral palsy, and other severe injuries. You may wonder if your physician’s delayed response during labor and delivery or negligent management regarding cephalopelvic disproportion in childbirth resulted in your baby’s subsequent medical diagnosis. If so, contact our highly qualified New Jersey birth injury and medical malpractice lawyers who can help you determine if your physician’s delayed decision or other negligent conduct was directly responsible for your child’s harm. Know that you have the right to seek compensation for your medical and other economic losses and further expenses, as well as your family’s mental and emotional suffering, if medical negligence occurred in your cephalopelvic disproportion case. Our team is here to provide you with a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. Simply call (866)-708-8617 today.
Risk Factors for Cephalopelvic Disproportion (CPD)
Although doctors try to calculate a baby’s weight during pregnancy using ultrasound, they can only estimate the size and proportion of the baby’s head to the mother’s pelvis. It is not an exact science, and the baby may not be as big as the doctor estimates. For this reason, cephalopelvic disproportion is hard to predict and impossible to prevent. CPD is generally diagnosed during labor. Still, some factors, such as a mother’s narrow pelvis or pelvic injury, are risks for the condition, as well as the baby’s position. Additional risk factors include babies with larger heads due to hydrocephalus (swelling in the brain) and gender, as boys tend to be bigger than girls. Another contributing factor to cephalopelvic disproportion involves the mother’s genetic makeup. She may have a small or irregular-shaped pelvis or have suffered some type of injury that narrowed the pelvis. In addition, first pregnancies, gestational diabetes, polyhydramnios (excessive amniotic fluid), obesity, malnutrition, infertility treatments, overdue pregnancies, cesarean birth history, short stature, teen pregnancy, and ethnicity, are all risk factors for CPD.
The best way to predict CPD is by your doctor’s detailed health history, especially if a patient had the condition previously. Moreover, cephalopelvic disproportion can be detected through pelvic examination, ultrasound, physical exams, and monitoring of the baby’s position throughout the pregnancy. While CPD usually refers to the baby’s head being disproportionately large for the mother’s pelvis, another common problem is breech position (feet first down the canal) or the baby’s face-up head position inside the birth canal. Since the baby’s head is the largest part of the body, the easiest delivery occurs when the smallest part of the head (the baby is head-first and facing the mother’s spine) delivers first. Other presentations, such as face up, are more difficult.
Flexible female pelvises and soft skull bones in the baby’s head are primary reasons why most deliveries are successful. In fact, 90% of newborns weigh in at 8 pounds, 13 ounces or under. Those whose weights exceed this threshold may have a condition known as fetal macrosomia, which is often a cause of cephalopelvic disproportion. For any number of reasons, mismatching sizes of the fetus and mother’s pelvis may arise in some scenarios, resulting in overly long and excessively difficult labor. Due to the precarious nature of CPD and the birthing process as a whole, it is crucial for doctors to remain cognizant of the various risk factors for this condition and to take appropriate action to avoid distress for the mother and child.
Managing Cephalopelvic Disproportion in Labor and Delivery
When it comes to cephalopelvic disproportion, there is no mechanism for prevention. The key to preventing CPD complications and injuries, however, is for an obstetrician to monitor labor carefully and make the timely decision to do a C-section, weighing all of the factors of maternal and fetal health. A doctor may allow their patient to have a trial run of labor, closely monitoring contractions, dilation, and labor progress. The fetal heart monitor is there to let the medical professionals know if the baby’s heart rate is showing signs of distress or oxygen deprivation, for which they must be on alert.
The baby’s position should be checked through vaginal examination or ultrasound, X-ray, or MRI before labor. Changing positions frequently, particularly sitting, squatting, switching sides or getting on hands and knees, can help labor progress or change the baby’s position. Forceps or vacuum extraction may help deliver the baby during a trial delivery if contractions are effective, dilation and effacement (softening of the cervix) are sufficient to allow the baby’s head through the pelvis, and the fetus is doing well and progressing down the birth canal. And yet, labor assistance devices are largely warned against by members of the medical community, generally opting for C-section birth over such alternatives.
If indications point to a maternal pelvis that is too small to accommodate the fetus’s head by way of a standard vaginal delivery, and a mother is diagnosed with cephalopelvic disproportion, a cesarean section may be necessary. C-section birth is more likely if the mother had a previous c-section or she is older and having her first child. It is necessary if the baby is not in position to deliver safely, is overdue, or if either the child or mother is experiencing complications. Birth situations involving companion conditions like preeclampsia may also prompt surgical delivery intervention. Further, a history of CPD most likely leads to a planned cesarean birth.
Potential Injuries from Cephalopelvic Disproportion at Birth
The possibility of CPD should alert doctors to potential complications, which should be avoided at all costs. Some of the common injuries and complications that may result from labor and delivery in the midst of cephalopelvic disproportion include:
- Membranes rupturing early
- Shoulder dystocia (baby’s shoulder getting stuck in the birth canal)
- Umbilical cord prolapse (cord proceeds through the canal before the fetus)
- Neonatal distress
- Torn perineum
- Infant head injury
- Uterine rupture
- Infection for the mother
- Injuries linked to lack of oxygen, such as Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and cerebral palsy
- Newborn or maternal death
Correctly identifying risk factors or signs of CPD and planning to prevent serious complications and injuries during childbirth is your doctor’s responsibility. If they fail to fulfill this fundamental duty of care, and you or your baby suffer harm, you may have a valid claim for medical malpractice.
Pursue a Claim for Medical Negligence with Cephalopelvic Disproportion in New Jersey
If you believe the medical professionals or hospital involved in the birth of your child acted negligently with CPD, it is essential to explore your legal options to secure the compensation your family needs and deserves. Our birth malpractice lawyers serving all of New Jersey, have the knowledge and extensive experience you want on your side when seeking to ensure that your case is thoroughly investigated, constructed with help from the top medical experts in the field, and diligently pursued throughout the legal process. Contact us at (866)-708-8617 to discuss your cephalopelvic disproportion injury case with an attorney who can provide personalized guidance and answers at no cost to you.