What should Kentucky moms know about cephalopelvic disproportion?

When a woman goes to the hospital in labor, chances are good that she isn't expecting to have to have a Cesarean section. For some women, including some in Kentucky, a failure to progress during labor end up requiring her to have a C-section. One reason that is sometimes blamed for the failure to progress is cephalopelvic disproportion. This term means that the baby's head is larger than the pelvis. 

How common is CPD?

CPD is a rare condition that occurs in approximately one out of every 250 pregnancies. Because of the rarity of the condition, it is unlikely that a woman who has been diagnosed with CPD in one pregnancy would have it again in another pregnancy. In fact, one study noted that more than 65 percent of mothers with CPD went on to have a vaginal delivery in a future pregnancy.

What causes CPD?

There are four primary causes of CPD: small maternal pelvis, abnormal fetal position, abnormally shaped maternal pelvis and a large baby. If the baby is large enough to warrant a diagnosis of CPD, the baby's size might have been caused by postmaturity, hereditary factors, previous pregnancies or maternal diabetes.

How will I know if I have CPD?

There usually isn't a way to know a woman will have CPD prior to labor. Generally, CPD might be suspected if the woman's labor fails to progress despite the use of interventions, such as oxytocin. Usually, an ultrasound is used to diagnose CPD.

When a diagnosis of CPD is given, the best way for the baby to be delivered is via a C-section. If a doctor fails to take prompt action to get the woman to surgery, there is a risk of harm to the mother and baby. Any woman who was diagnosed with CPD and suffered harm because of a delay in getting a C-section has the right to seek compensation for the harm.

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