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Cephalopelvic Disproportion

Syracuse Lawyers Helping Children With Birth Injuries

Cephalopelvic disproportion occurs when a baby cannot pass through the mother’s pelvis during birth. Because the baby’s head or body is too large, the mother may not be able to deliver the baby vaginally or the baby may sustain birth injuries such as shoulder dystocia. If your baby suffered from complications as a result of cephalopelvic disproportion, the Syracuse birth injury attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano can provide a consultation to discuss your situation.

Cephalopelvic Disproportion

Generally, when cephalopelvic disproportion exists, the baby’s head is too big to fit through the mother’s pelvis. The disproportion may arise because the mother’s pelvis is particularly small or because a baby is especially large. Macrosomia is the term used to describe a larger than average fetus. In most cases, babies with macrosomia are born healthy. However, in certain instances, macrosomia can present complications during a vaginal delivery. A mother may also experience difficulties with a vaginal delivery when she has an unusually shaped, small or malformed pelvis. Complications of cephalopelvic disproportion include shoulder dystocia, premature rupture of membranes, fetal distress, umbilical cord prolapse, perineal damage, and uterine rupture. The possibility of the baby suffering a head or brain injury should also be taken into account.


Not every poor outcome can be attributed to a health care provider’s professional negligence. To establish liability when cephalopelvic disproportion causes a birth injury, you will need to show by a preponderance of the evidence: (1) your health care provider owed you and the baby a professional standard of care, (2) the provider deviated from this standard in responding to cephalopelvic proportion, (3) the deviation caused birth injuries, and (4) actual damages.

In most cases, your lawyer will retain an expert to provide an opinion about the standard of care, how a particular health care provider breached it, and whether this breach caused the harm. The professional standard of care can vary and is determined by considering the accepted medical practices of health care providers in the same specialty as the defendant and practicing in the same geographic area.

Professional Standard of Care

Your physician should treat the cephalopelvic disproportion according to the accepted medical practices of other Syracuse obstetricians. For instance, to predict the potential for cephalopelvic disproportion, obstetricians may estimate the fetal weight during pregnancy or use radiologic pelvimetry to measure the dimensions of a pelvis. If your obstetrician ignored signs of a particularly large baby, whether through estimates or radiologic pelvimetry, but other reasonably prudent obstetricians in Syracuse would have taken measures to respond to these signals, the physician may have been breached the professional standard of care. Similarly, if your obstetrician did not schedule a C-section, even though the baby was clearly too large to safely deliver vaginally, you may have a case for medical malpractice when reasonably prudent Syracuse obstetricians would have scheduled a C-section.

During labor, obstetricians should monitor and recognize signs of fetal distress or obstructed labor. In order to prevent serious birth injuries, they may need to perform an emergency C-section rather than permit a prolonged labor. Failure to act can result in hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, cerebral palsy or other serious complications. If you can establish that a birth injury resulted from your doctor or nurse’s breach of the professional standard of care in diagnosing or responding to cephalopelvic disproportion, you may be able to recover monetary damages.


Damages in a birth injury lawsuit can be awarded to compensate for both economic and noneconomic losses, but the type and amount will depend on the severity of the birth injuries and the harm that results from them. Damages may pay for pain and suffering, mental anguish, medical bills, rehabilitation and therapy. If, for example, your baby sustained severe cerebral palsy and intracranial hemorrhage as a result of your doctor’s improper response to cephalopelvic disproportion, she may need surgery, physical therapy, occupational therapy, medical equipment, and lifelong care. These expenses may be recovered in a birth injury lawsuit.

Consult an Attorney in Syracuse

If your baby was harmed by undiagnosed or mishandled cephalopelvic disproportion in Syracuse, you may be able to recover damages by filing a lawsuit. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our tough, knowledgeable lawyers can fight for your baby if he or she was harmed by malpractice in Rochester, Syracuse, or another city in Upstate New York such as Lyons, Oneida, Cooperstown, Oswego, Auburn, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Binghamton, Elmira, Watertown, Ithaca, Lowville, Herkimer, and Utica. Contact DeFrancisco & Falgiatano at 833-200-2000 or by completing our online form.

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