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Thread: first baby and scoliosis

  1. #1
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    Sep 2009
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    first baby and scoliosis

    I am curently pregnant with our first child and a little afraid of how my back will effect my pregnancy. I have rods in the top half of my spine and now need to be fused all the way to my pelvic bone but my dr wants to wait because I am only 31. I have heard horror stories from friends who have tried epidurals and natural delivery. I have been told c-section is the only way to go, is this true? Any moms out there with bad backs I would love any advice you have to share.

  2. #2
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    I have had three children with no problems due to scoliosis. I haven't been fused, but have read other mom's stories that had no problems. I wouldn't go through the surgery of the c-section unless your doctor deemed in necessary. It is major surgery and comes with it's own risks. You seem concerned about labor and delivery, as are most new moms. Don't let the horror stories scare you. Every pregnancy is different. Congratulations!

  3. #3
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    Jan 2011
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    One of my friends had her second baby at age 30, after her 2nd surgery, complete with rods and the whole bit. She was able to deliver naturally (read: no c-section) for both babies. Later, her curve worsened, and she had a revision surgery to correct some other issues and fuse more of her spine when she was 31.

    She's now 38, doing absolutely fine, no pain, and has been my go-to success story when I'm freaking out and reading horror stories online.

    So long as your anesthesiologist is aware that your spine is funky, an epidural shouldn't be problematic. If you're at a teaching hospital I would insist on the top guy doing it and absolutely nobody still in training, but that is just my personal preference. It may give you more comfort to meet with anesthesia prior to checking into your delivery hospital - it will give you solid information and let you feel confident in their skills.

    Congratulations on your upcoming bundle of joy!
    Female, age 38
    4 years of bracing, concluded at 42*upper/38*lower
    currently 64*upper/40*lower
    Fused T3-L4 on Feb 23 2011
    now 32*upper/18* lower

  4. #4
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    Jan 2011
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    I delivered twins by C-section 15 years after having surgery to put a Harrington rod in my back. I could not have an epidural because of the rod, so my doctor said I needed to have a C-section. One baby was head down, but the other was transverse, so that was the reason for the C-section. He said I could have had a natural childbirth if the babies were in place. But, with the weight of carrying twins for 9 months, a screw came loose and I had to have the rod removed a few years later. Haven't had anything done since. I have back pain sometimes, but overall I think I'm doing fine.

  5. #5
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    Aug 2008
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    Indianapolis, IN
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    Red face

    Women like to tell horror stories about childbirth no matter if you have a bad back or not. It does not have to be bad if you prepare yourself...but there is no way around it, it is painful. I had my 2 babies many years before my scoliosis surgeries, and delivered naturally. Those are still 2 of my very favorite days. I had back labor, but I used breathing techniques to get through my labor...I wouldn't have a c-section unless medically necessary because it is a major abdominal surgery and you will have the risks that come with that.
    May 2008 Fusion T4 - S1, Pre-op Curves T45, L70 (age 48). Unsuccessful surgery.

    March 18, 2010 (age 50). Revision with L3 Osteotomy, Replacement of hardware T11 - S1 , addition of bilateral pelvic fixation. Correction of sagittal imbalance and kyphosis.

    January 24, 2012 (age 52) Revision to repair pseudoarthrosis and 2 broken rods at L3/L4.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by scolio1964 View Post
    I delivered twins by C-section 15 years after having surgery to put a Harrington rod in my back. I could not have an epidural because of the rod, so my doctor said I needed to have a C-section. One baby was head down, but the other was transverse, so that was the reason for the C-section. He said I could have had a natural childbirth if the babies were in place. But, with the weight of carrying twins for 9 months, a screw came loose and I had to have the rod removed a few years later. Haven't had anything done since. I have back pain sometimes, but overall I think I'm doing fine.
    Oh wow. Sorry about the c-section but glad you are doing okay now.

    My twins were head down and transverse also but the lower one was head down so I could deliver at least the first. I was very concerned that I would deliver one and then have to have a c-section for the second but my OB said not to worry... if the second baby didn't come down head first he would turn it. Luckily, after the first kid was born I pushed and the second came down head first.

    I just loved the OB's "can do" attitude about it all. It's one of the main memories I have of him.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  7. #7
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    May 2010
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    Indianapolis area
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    It seems like you should be okay to deliver naturally (no c-section), based on what various doctors told me about being able to have babies post-surgery. But, just as an aside, make sure you get a good anesthesiologist. In my first pregnancy the anesthesia only helped one side of my body. They said that might have had something to do with my scoliosis. The had me turn on my side so it might "drip" to the other side. Ha! Eventually they had to bring in the doctor again and give me something stronger. It worked, but I coudn't feel my legs until the next day! I met the anesthesiologist once before delivery so he could assess my spine and whether he would be able to place the epidural. (I had not been fused, but they were concerned just because of the curvature.) Anyhow, I ended up having an emergency-C with my first b/c I couldn't push him over my pubic bone. Again, might (might) have had something to do with scoli b/c all is not right in that lumbar region of my body. Second baby was a planned C because of the first C. I will say they didn't warn me that C-sections permanently weaken your abdominal muscles, which does not help with chronic back pain. I would avoid one if I could. On the other hand, I did not find recovery from a C-section difficult at all. Hardly any pain after a few days. Best of luck--and congratulations!

    Evelyn
    age 48
    80* thoracolumbar; 40* thoracic
    Reduced to ~16* thoracolumbar; ~0* thoracic
    Surgery 3/14/12 with Dr. Lenke in St. Louis, T4 to S1 with pelvic fixation
    Broken rods 12/1/19; scheduled for revision fusion L1-L3-4 with Dr. Lenke 2/4/2020
    Not "confused" anymore, but don't know how to change my username.

  8. #8
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    Jan 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pooka1 View Post
    Oh wow. Sorry about the c-section but glad you are doing okay now.

    My twins were head down and transverse also but the lower one was head down so I could deliver at least the first. I was very concerned that I would deliver one and then have to have a c-section for the second but my OB said not to worry... if the second baby didn't come down head first he would turn it. Luckily, after the first kid was born I pushed and the second came down head first.

    I just loved the OB's "can do" attitude about it all. It's one of the main memories I have of him.
    Yeah, I think my doctor was just lazy!!! I didn't know enough to argue with him. Oh well, everything turned out okay - that's the important thing I guess.

  9. #9
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    Sep 2009
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    7

    Call to the anesthesiologist

    Well I called the hospital to try to set an apt with the anesthesiologist but they said they did not do that and to just bring my films the day of. Those of you who said you met with the anesthesiologist, how did you get them to see you?

  10. #10
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    Jun 2006
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    Euharlee, Georgia
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    I am fused in the lower back and could not have an epidural. Both of my kids got stuck due to the tilt of my pelvic bone. They were both c-sections and I was completely under for the surgery. If you are not fused in your lumbar area, you should be able to have an epidural.
    T12- L5 fusion 1975 - Rochester, NY
    2002 removal of bottom of rod and extra fusion
    3/1/11 C5-C6 disc replacement
    Daughter - T7 - L3 fusion 2004

  11. #11
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    Mar 2008
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
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    I am due any day now with my first baby and have a Harrington rod that runs from T5 to L2. Because of this, my age (35) and the fact I had a herniated disc at L5/S1 a few years ago, I was matched with a high risk OB at my hospital. However, since my pregnancy has been uneventful (i.e. smooth sailing!), I don't actually see him during most of my appointments.

    I'm not sure if it is because I am considered high risk, or maybe it is standard at the hospital I go to, but I was given a consult with an anaethesiologist a couple of months ago. I was first told I could have an epidural since they usually go into the L2/L3 or L3/L4 disc spaces where I am not fused, but then when the doctor examined my back, he realized the actual incision made went down to L4, so it was decided I shouldn't have an epidural due to scar tissue from the incision. This is why I would really advise you to push for a consult instead of just bringing in an x-ray. If I need a pain killer, they are going to use what is called PCA I think? It is an IV with low dose pain medication, that I can control by pushing a button if I need relief. I am hoping to do this medication free, but am happy I have this as a back up.

    I also thought I would need a c-section, but because my fusion is higher up, natural childbirth is what we're going with. They've been watching me for symptoms of my herniated disc coming back and that would have been the only thing that would have led to a c-section for me. The more research I do, the more I am hoping not to have a c-section for the reasons others have listsed - it's major abdominal surgery and I really need my abdominal muscles to keep my disc from re-herniating.

    Good luck with your pregnancy and do push to meet with an anaethesiologist - it was incredibly helpful for me.
    - 39 years old
    - At age 14, curve progressed from 45 degrees to 62 degrees in two months.
    - Surgery in 1990 at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) with Dr. Letts. Fused T5 to L2. Corrected to about 30 degrees.
    - Harrington rod
    - Herniated disc - L5/S1 - January 2008. Summer 2009 - close to making a full recovery.
    - New mommy as of February 2011
    - Second child - September 2013
    - Staying relatively painfree through physio exercises!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    169
    I have had two natural births . I had no problems with the pregnancies and no problems with the births. This was in 1971 at age 20 and 1975 age 25.


    Regards
    Lorraine.
    Operated on in 1966, harrington rods inserted from T4 to L3, here in Australia. Fusion of the said vertebrae as well. Problems for the last 14 years with pain.
    Something I feel deeply,"Life is like money,you can spend it anyway you wish, but can only spend it once.

  13. #13
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    Oct 2005
    Location
    Lowcountry, SC
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    I'm fused from T2-L4, & I have had two children vaginally with no complications at all. You do NOT need a c-section! However, you will be unable to get an epidural, so pursue other pain management options. Using a midwife was the best decision I have EVER made.

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