One of the most common reasons listed in medical records as the cause of a C-section is CPD, or cephalopelvic disproportion (literally head-pelvis unequal sizes).

Just because one thing doesn't fit one way, one time doesn't mean you should give up forever!

Just because one thing doesn’t fit one way, one time doesn’t mean you should give up forever!

It is often followed up with FTP, or failure to progress (literally, failure to progress… go figure), which is kind of a “no duh” accompaniment to CPD if you think about it, because if the baby isn’t moving through the pelvis the birth isn’t going to “progress”. (I didn’t even have to go to medical school to figure that one out!)

Many women see this diagnoses in their operative report when they retrieve it from the hospital in preparation for a VBAC, or vaginal birth after cesarean, and they read it as a condemnation of their pelvis.

They sometimes feel as if the diagnosis of CPD/FTP means that their pelvis is malformed or broken and will never be able to pass a baby.

But CPD/FTP isn’t a chronic diagnosis.

Even if it were true (and it might not be, it’s really hard to tell why a baby didn’t go through a pelvis), it only means that the SPECIFIC baby, in it’s SPECIFIC position wasn’t fitting through your pelvis at that ONE MOMENT in time.

Babies can find their way into, and out of, the tightest spaces!

Babies can find their way into, and out of, the tightest spaces!

Same with FTP, it only means is that during THAT LABOR you weren’t able to progress to a vaginal birth

CPD can be caused by really changeable things like the positioning of the baby (very often the reason for a CPD diagnosis, especially with OP or “sunny side up” baby), a maladjusted pelvis (see your chiro!), the size of this specific baby, etc.

The thing to remember is that EACH baby gets it’s own chance to fit, and EACH labor gets it’s own chance to progress.

Try not to saddle yourself with fear and worry about your next baby’s journey through your pelvis just because of some letters written on a piece of paper. Remember that the LARGE majority of VBACs are successful; 74% of the time the next baby can get out. So, next time you’re going over your operative report, don’t read these various acronyms as a final determination about you and your pelvis, read it as an explanation of a specific incident, and then fill the rest of your day imagining how different this labor and birth might be than the last.

Happy VBACing!

The Country Midwife


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