Pregnancy after fusion

20 February 2021

At the time I was diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis in 1995, when I was 14, and when I underwent subsequent corrective surgery in July, 1997, aged 16, the question of pregnancy and birth was not top of my list of considerations. In fact, I don’t think it was anywhere on my list!!

Fast forward 8 years and my husband and I decided to try for a baby. I contacted my surgeon to ask if there was anything I should be taking into consideration or anything I should be aware of so that I was fully prepared. He advised that there was absolutely no reason why I should not be able to experience a perfectly normal pregnancy and birth. This gave me the confidence to embark on this new chapter.

My husband and I welcomed Max into the world (bang on due date!) in June ,2008, and he was followed by Sam in March, 2011. Both pregnancies were very straightforward. I experienced no significant back pain or discomfort. I carried both comfortably and continued to be very mobile throughout. I was looked after via ‘shared care’ which meant I had the usual appointments with the community midwife, but I also was overseen by a consultant. This was as much because of my fusion as it was my previous two miscarriages (before Max’s arrival).

During both pregnancies, an appointment was scheduled with an anaesthetist because of my surgical history. This was a very useful discussion. She advised, both times (I was obviously a little more clued up the second time!) that they would not be able to administer an epidural for two reasons: 1) the fusion meant that I would not be able to bend and separate the vertebrae for them to site the needle, 2) the scar tissue would make it difficult for them to locate the right place to administer the drug. In the event of needing a caesarean, I would have to have a general anaesthetic. She did mention that there would be the possibility of giving a slightly stronger painkiller than normal to bridge the gap if needed.

Armed with this knowledge I was perfectly happy that I knew the hospital would be fully up to date and that I knew what I could and couldn’t have. I did still make sure I wrote in capital letters all over my notes ‘CAN’T HAVE AN EPIDURAL’!!!!

Both of my boys laboured well without any complications, and I had both boys naturally without any pain relief. With Max, I did experience some continuous lower back pain for which they recommended the pool – it was a game-changer and definitely something I would recommend! The midwife was very attentive, checking with me frequently how the pain was. Sam arrived too quickly for them to even finish filling the bath!

It’s worth casting your mind a little further forward to post-pregnancy too. I knew our three door sporty number wasn’t going to cut it when I was trying to put a baby in a rear-facing car-seat in the back. I can’t twist! So we ended up changing our car to a five door so that it was easier to get a baby in and out. The weight of your pram, ease of putting up, taking down and handle height were all factors we assessed when buying. It sounds pedantic but when you think how much time you’re going to be spending doing it, it really will make a difference, I promise!

There is not a lot of discussion around pregnancy and scoliosis, so as with all of my scoliosis experience, I always aim to be open and honest, in the hope that it helps make someone else’s journey that little bit lighter. SAUK provides invaluable support during these times. I wish I had known about them sooner.

Share this page