Women who have scoliosis, a deformity where the spine curves to the side, often worry that pregnancy will make the curvature worse. They also have concerns about increased back pain during the pregnancy.
Doctors say research shows pregnancy, labor and delivery is virtually the same for women with mild to moderate scoliosis as for women without scoliosis. The extra weight does not increase the curvature of the spine, as long as the curve is not still progressing. For the majority of patients, the curve stabilizes by age 25.
Women with severe scoliosis should consult their doctor before becoming pregnant. During the latter stages of pregnancy, they may experience some breathing problems. This is because the uterus is pushing the diaphragm higher and decreasing capacity. Back pain can be significant.
For women with the mild to moderate type of scoliosis, back pain can be a complication. However, doctors say almost all women experience back pain during pregnancy. It is unclear whether the scoliosis or the pregnancy is actually the culprit.
Effect on Epidural
It can be difficult to give an epidural, anesthesia injected into the spine, to a women with scoliosis. This is especially true if they have had a spinal fusion. It is crucial for a pregnant women suffering from scoliosis to discuss pain management options with their doctor before they go into labor.
Doctors recommend women having surgery for scoliosis to wait for at least six months after the surgery to become pregnant. This is the recommended healing time for the spine.
C-Section or Vaginal
In the past, obstetricians routinely scheduled women with scoliosis for delivery by cesarean section. Currently, more and more women with scoliosis are finding a vaginal delivery is possible with no unusual complications.