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  1. Unlawful destruction of child under 1 year of age is INFANTICIDE.
  2. It doesn’t include death of fetus during labor when it is destroyed most common cause is prematurity.
  3. Killing of child by his parents is called FILLICIDE *
  4. Killing of fetus at any time prior to birth is FOETICIDE.
  5. Deliberate killing of child within 24 hrs of birth is NEONATICIDE.

Important Sections

  1. Section 312. Causing miscarriage
    1. Whoever voluntarily causes a woman with child to miscarry unlawfully, shall, be punished with imprisonmen up to three years, and fine, and, if the woman be quick with child, shall be punished with imprisonment up to seven years, and fine.
    2. A woman who causes herself to miscarry, is within the meaning of this section.
  2. Section 313. Causing miscarriage without woman's consent
    Whoever causes miscarriage without the consent of the woman, shall be punished with imprisonment for life or up to ten years, and also fine.
  3. Section 314. Death caused by act done with intent to cause miscarriage-
    1. Whoever, with intent to cause the miscarriage of woman with child, does any act which causes the death of such woman, shall be punished with imprisonment upto ten years, and also fine.
    2. If act done without woman's consent. — And if the act is done without the consent of the woman, shall be punished either with 1[imprisonment for life] or with the punishment above mentioned.
  4. Section 315. Act done with intent to prevent child being born alive or to cause it to die after birth
    Whoever before the birth of any child does any unlawful act that prevents that child from being born alive or causing it to die after its birth, shall, be punished with for a term which may extend to ten years, and fine.
  5. Section 316. Causing death of quick unborn child by act amounting to culpable homicide
    1. Whoever does any act, that if he thereby caused death he would be guilty of culpable homicide, and does by such act cause the death of a quick unborn child, shall be punished with imprisonment upto ten years, and also fine.
    2. Illustration
      knowing that he is likely to cause the death of a pregnant woman, does an act which, if it caused the death of the woman, would amount to culpable homicide. The woman is injured, but does not die, but the death of an unborn quick child with which she is pregnant is thereby caused. A is guilty of the offence defined in this section.
  6. Section 317. Exposure and abandonment of child under twelve years, by parent or person having care of it.
    Whoever being the father or mother of a child under the age of twelve years, having the care of such child, shall leave such child in any place with the intention of wholly abandoning such child, shall be punished with imprisonment upto seven years; and fine.
  7. Section 318. Concealment of birth by secret disposal of dead body.
    Whoever, by secretly disposing of the death body of a child whether such child die before or after or during its birth, intentionally conceals the birth of such child, shall be punished with imprisonment up to two years, and fine.

Dead Born

Died in uterus and shows one of the following signs after being completely born.

  1. Rigor mortis at delivery.
  2. Maceration: aseptic autolysis *(It is a process of aseptic autolysis which occurs when the dead child remains in the uterus for about 3 or 4 days surrounded by liquor amnii but exclusion of air. the body is macerated soft flaccid and flattened and emits a sweetish disagreeable smell which is quit different from that of putrefaction. The skin shows red or purple coloration but never greenish as in putrefaction.)
    1. Earliest sign - skin slippage in 12 hours
    2. Robert's sign (Earliest Radiological sign) - appearance of gas shadow in heart chambers and great vessels, may appear in 12 hours
    3. Spalding sign - Irregular over lapping of cranial bones on one another is due to liquefaction of brain and softening of the ligamentous structures supporting the vault. It usually appears seven days after the death
    4. Hyperflexion of the spine
    5. Crowding of ribs with loss of normal parallelism.
    6. Overlapping of maternal spine with fetal spine on X ray.
  3. Mummification: It occurs in following conditions: a) Scanty Liquor amnii b) Deficient blood supply
  4. LIVE BORN: any sign of life after complete birth of the child.

    1. Wredin’s test for air in middle ear. Before birth, middle ear contains gelatinous embryonic connective tissue. With respiration, the sphincter at the pharyngeal end of the Eustachian tube relaxes and air replaces the gelatinous substances in few hours to five weeks.
    2. Breslous 2nd life test (Stomach bowel test) for air in stomach and duodenum. The stomach and intestines are removed after tying double ligatures at each end. They float in water if respiration has taken place.
    3. Fodere’s test : weight of lungs - 30 gms – still born
                                                       60 gms – live born
    4. Ploquet’s test: weight of lungs to body
      1 : 70 unrespired lung
      1: 35 respired lung
      Hydrostatic floatation/ Breslau’s first life/ Raygat’s test: lungs float if the child has respired.
      Floating is due to the residual air. Before the test, lung is squeezed to remove the tidal air.
  5. Expanded lungs may sink due to (False Negative):
    1. acute pulmonary edema
    2. pneumonia
    3. atelectasis*
    4. drowning
  6. Unexpanded lungs may float due to (false Positive):
    1. Putrefaction,
    2. Artificial inflation and alcohol fixation
  7. The test is not necessary in case:
    1. Milk is present in the stomach.
    2. Umbilical cord is separated & scarred
    3. Fetus is non-viable (<180 days).
    4. Fetus is macerated and mummified

VAGITUS: First cry of new born infant.


VAGITUS UTERINUS: Crying of the baby before birth while still in the uterus.


VAGITUS VAGINALIS: Cry of an infant with head still in the vagina.

A child can breathe in the vagina or uterus but may die from natural causes before it is completely born.


Umblical cord

  1. Umbillical cord falls off in 6 days
  2. Umbillical vein and ductus venosus obliterates in 4 days
  3. Umbillical artery obliterates in three days
  4. Ductus arteriosus closes by tenth day
  5. Foramen ovale closes by second or third month

Umbillical cord is mostly torn at the fetal end *


During post mortem

  1. Abdomen is opened before thorax *.
  2. If suspected poisoning, cranial cavity is opened first.
  3. The level of diaphragm is lower as the infant has respired.

Other Causes of Infant Death

  1. Battered Baby Syndrome/ Caffey’s Syndrome: Non Accidental injuries of childhood.
    Features : inconsistent history and physical findings.
    : Multiple bruises of different colors.
    : Infantile Whiplash syndrome (shaken baby syndrome) – subdural hematoma and intra- ocular bleeding.
    : Multiple rib fractures giving STRING OF BEADS * appearance (Nobbing fractures)
  2. Manchausen Syndrome By Proxy *: child is brought to hospital with repeated complaints by the parents.
  3. SIDS: cot death or crib death – cause is sleep apnoea.

Important Sections

Sec 317 IPC – abandoning the fetus

Sec 318 IPC – concealment of birth


  1. Ability of the fetus to lead separate existence
  2. A child is viable after 28 weeks.
    1. STILLBORN – child born after 28 weeks of pregnancy and did not breathe or show signs of life
    2. Signs of Viability
      1. length : 35 cms (Hasse’s rule – 7 m X 5 = 35cms)
      2. weight : 900 – 1200 gms
      3. ossification centres appearing at viability
      4. Talus second and third piece of sternum

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