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Thread: Pregnancy and epidurals

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    51

    Pregnancy and epidurals

    Hi - I've been absent from this forum for about 5 yrs but always found a lot of help here, glad to be back!

    I wasn't sure where to post this question but my husband and I are expecting our first child in July '14 and I'm wondering if anyone with a spinal fusion has had any trouble with back pain during pregnancy or giving birth? My surgeon said I should be fine.

    Also wondering if it's possible to get an epidural or if anyone has had complications with that. I'm currently considering a home birth as well in which case I would most likely not go to the hospital. But wanted to ask since I haven't completely made up my mind.

    I am 7, almost 8 yrs post-op. I had a revision surgery in 2007 that went well and only have pain after over exertion or sitting for long periods of time. This pain is manageable and a massage always gets me back to normal. So compared to the pain after my first surgery (2000 - fusion didn't heal, rods broke) I consider the 2nd surgery to be a complete success. I am 32 yrs old.

    Thanks in advance!
    { sarah }

    Posterior Spinal Fusion for a 76 degree curve in 2000 at age 19. Two rods placed, fused from T4 to L2. Curve reduced to a 29.
    One rod broken and noticing increased pain in 2004. Curve progressed to 39.
    March 2007 Revision surgery- Rods removed and discovery of unhealed fusion. Had new rods placed along with new bone from Thoracoplasty and BMP.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,711
    Quote Originally Posted by SARAHK View Post
    Hi - I've been absent from this forum for about 5 yrs but always found a lot of help here, glad to be back!

    I wasn't sure where to post this question but my husband and I are expecting our first child in July '14 and I'm wondering if anyone with a spinal fusion has had any trouble with back pain during pregnancy or giving birth? My surgeon said I should be fine.

    Also wondering if it's possible to get an epidural or if anyone has had complications with that. I'm currently considering a home birth as well in which case I would most likely not go to the hospital. But wanted to ask since I haven't completely made up my mind.

    I am 7, almost 8 yrs post-op. I had a revision surgery in 2007 that went well and only have pain after over exertion or sitting for long periods of time. This pain is manageable and a massage always gets me back to normal. So compared to the pain after my first surgery (2000 - fusion didn't heal, rods broke) I consider the 2nd surgery to be a complete success. I am 32 yrs old.

    Thanks in advance!
    Hi Sarah...

    Congratulations on your pregnancy. Since you're only fused to L2, you should be able to get an epidural, at least if you're in a hospital where they've got really experienced anesthesiologists. You should be able to meet with someone in anesthesia who can confirm this for you.

    --Linda
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Dilbert
    I'm sarcastic... what's your super power? --Unknown
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
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    51
    Quote Originally Posted by LindaRacine View Post
    Hi Sarah...

    Congratulations on your pregnancy. Since you're only fused to L2, you should be able to get an epidural, at least if you're in a hospital where they've got really experienced anesthesiologists. You should be able to meet with someone in anesthesia who can confirm this for you.

    --Linda
    Thank you so much Linda! For some reason I never saw your response 2 yrs ago!

    An update - I did end up trying to get the epidural and the anesthesiologists at UCLA forewarned me that there were 3 possible outcomes -
    1) it could give me the worst headache of my life (because they may not be able to find the correct placement due to the scar tissue)
    2) it might not fully spread because of my spinal situation and surgeries, therefore only numbing partially or not at all
    3) it could work

    Unfortunately #2 is what happened and I was only numb from the crotch down so I felt everything. It was pretty disappointing! But I managed to get through it and was able to get some relief here and there with a short term IV drug called Fentanyl. I am now pregnant with baby #2 (*insert surprised face emoticon*) and wondering if I will end up attempting it one more time and see what happens.

    Would love to hear more stories if anyone else has had multiple surgeries and then gotten an epidural!

    Thanks again Linda!
    { sarah }

    Posterior Spinal Fusion for a 76 degree curve in 2000 at age 19. Two rods placed, fused from T4 to L2. Curve reduced to a 29.
    One rod broken and noticing increased pain in 2004. Curve progressed to 39.
    March 2007 Revision surgery- Rods removed and discovery of unhealed fusion. Had new rods placed along with new bone from Thoracoplasty and BMP.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    2

    2 pregnancies

    I had 2 kids recently. Both ended up being c sections with spinal instead of epidural. Went well. I felt great during pregnancies and after. I was 39 at the time. Now 41, 2 years later have strong pains and discomfort in the lower and upper back as apparently pregnancies cause scoli to progress. I had 2 fusions in the lumber spine previously ad was very active with only occasional sciatica. Now I am in a constant pain, especially at night when lie down. Not sure what to do as I feel that all the stress finally affected the disc below the fusion. Probably time to fuse it lower, down to sacral. I am not even sure what levels I have fused though probably to l4. My suggestion, lose weight right away and excersise after 2nd pregnancy if possible. I never did so perhaps that is a punishment for carrying kids around and not taking care of myself. I am a bit scared now, what I am going to do with my achy old back.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    51
    Thanks for the reply and the advice! That's very interesting that the spinal worked for you. Did the needle actually have to go through scar tissue? Or did they place it above your incision? Did you labor with your 2 babies at all or have scheduled c-sections? My first was 10lbs 5 oz and I labored to 9cm before they did the c-section. So it was a long, painful ordeal without an epidural. I think they told me that since the epidural didn't work, a spinal probably wouldn't either? I can't remember. But they had to put me completely under for the c-section since the epidural didn't work.

    As far as your lower back pain - have you already tried massage? Your case might be completely different from mine but I also had horrible lower back pain after my 1st, to the point that it scared me a bit too. I went and got a deep tissue massage from a trusted person I go to and I might have taken ibuprofen too. I can't remember. But it was so much better within a few days which was a huge relief after weeks of pain. My doctor had warned me at my last check up years ago that I might get arthritis in my lower back where the hardware ended and my 3 vertebrae are close together. So I was relieved that it wasn't that. This pain happened over a year ago and I lift my 30+ lb toddler everyday and have not experienced it again. And yeah I really hope to get back into yoga once the 2nd baby is born and I am able to exercise again!!
    { sarah }

    Posterior Spinal Fusion for a 76 degree curve in 2000 at age 19. Two rods placed, fused from T4 to L2. Curve reduced to a 29.
    One rod broken and noticing increased pain in 2004. Curve progressed to 39.
    March 2007 Revision surgery- Rods removed and discovery of unhealed fusion. Had new rods placed along with new bone from Thoracoplasty and BMP.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    2
    I had a spinal above fusion, the needle is smaller. I did not labor to save my back. I guess you will skip it with this baby. Hope all works well. I am tired after 2 new one. It is hard on a person with scoliosis. Make sure that everyone in a family knows how hard it is for you. They will never understand but at least so they are not annoyed with you. All guilt aside take care of yourself. I will try massage as per your suggestion.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    51
    Quote Originally Posted by 2timer View Post
    I had a spinal above fusion, the needle is smaller. I did not labor to save my back. I guess you will skip it with this baby. Hope all works well. I am tired after 2 new one. It is hard on a person with scoliosis. Make sure that everyone in a family knows how hard it is for you. They will never understand but at least so they are not annoyed with you. All guilt aside take care of yourself. I will try massage as per your suggestion.
    Yeah taking care of yourself is so hard to do as a mom and I'm sure even worse with 2. Hope you can find some relief! Thanks for the advice.
    { sarah }

    Posterior Spinal Fusion for a 76 degree curve in 2000 at age 19. Two rods placed, fused from T4 to L2. Curve reduced to a 29.
    One rod broken and noticing increased pain in 2004. Curve progressed to 39.
    March 2007 Revision surgery- Rods removed and discovery of unhealed fusion. Had new rods placed along with new bone from Thoracoplasty and BMP.

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