Scoliosis affects an estimated six to nine million people in the United States. Routine doctor’s visits, especially during the developmental years of a child’s life, are crucial to identifying this abnormal curvature of the spine. Though many people end up needing treatment for scoliosis (generally in the form of scoliosis correction procedures), life doesn’t have to stop because you require additional spine care. However, your diagnosis can present a problem if you want to have children. Let’s take a look at a few of the most frequently asked questions regarding scoliosis and pregnancy.
Scoliosis is not hereditary, but it is familial. Basically, this means that there is no scoliosis gene specifically, but there are genes that may be passed on that predispose someone to the disorder. Scoliosis results from a combination of both environmental and genetic factors; your children aren’t guaranteed to develop the curved spine due to their genes alone, but it does make it more likely.
Most women with scoliosis have no problem bearing children, but it’s vital that you let your OB/GYN and anesthesiologist know about your condition ahead of time. Depending on your spine’s curvature, receiving an epidural with scoliosis may be difficult or even impossible; additionally, there’s a higher risk that you’ll need to deliver by Cesarean section.
Women with scoliosis should be particularly careful with their backs during the third trimester. Not only will you have more weight to bear, but the hormones released during pregnancy actually relax the ligaments in your body; this can lead to an increase of the Cobb angle and cause back, hip, or leg pain. If you’ve already had spinal fusion surgery, long-term back pain is quite common after pregnancy.
Although receiving an epidural with scoliosis is possible, spinal fusion rods can certainly cause problems. If the rod is low in spine, the epidural may be impossible to perform. In fact, many OB/GYNs will refuse to make the attempt. Or if your entire birthing team is aware of the rod, they might be able to work around it. Keep in mind, however, this procedure varies from patient to patient.
If you have any other questions about pregnancy and your spinal problems, it’s best to talk to your doctor or chiropractor.