What Happens in Cases of Scoliosis and Pregnancy?

While getting pregnant is a dream for many women, having scoliosis can make you anxious. You could be worrying about the effects it may have on your unborn baby. Scoliosis is a condition in which the spine has a lateral curvature. The upper part of the back has an outward curve and the lower part has a slight inward curve. This causes a lateral C or S curvature in place of the normal near-straight alignment. Then can scoliosis and pregnancy go together?

How Will Scoliosis Affect the Pregnancy?

Scoliosis has minimal effect on your unborn baby and most women with scoliosis will easily deliver their babies. You need to let your gynecologist and anesthetist know about your condition as early as possible so they are prepared before your due date. Your specific scoliosis condition can mean that an epidural does not work or is difficult to administer. Scoliosis may also cause your caregivers to advise you to undergo induced labor or a C-section.

Will Scoliosis Worsen Health Condition During Pregnancy?

In most cases of scoliosis, pregnancy will not worsen the spine curve. However, scoliosis can worsen the following symptoms. Irrespective of the presence or absence of scoliosis, women experience similar symptoms during pregnancy. These include:

  • Back Pain – This may be mild or moderate and in most cases affect the lower back. It is difficult to determine whether such pain is a result of scoliosis or pregnancy. However, when scoliosis was present before pregnancy, there is an increased risk of back pain during pregnancy.
  • Breathlessness – Pregnant women may also undergo periods of breathlessness. This is caused by increased progesterone hormone level which causes a rise in breathing rate. Breathlessness can be worse for women with scoliosis.
  • Difficulties in Movement – Walking can be difficult in case you have legs with uneven lengths. This can worsen as your pregnancy progresses. 

How Should Scoliosis Be Treated During Pregnancy?

Now you know the relation between scoliosis and pregnancy. When a woman with scoliosis has not had treatment for the condition prior to pregnancy, it is difficult to do this during pregnancy. The main reason is that procedures such as X-ray, CT and MRI cannot be conducted on a pregnant woman. Radiation would have negative effects on the developing baby. Overall, little can be done to treat the condition when a woman is pregnant.

Available treatment methods in this case include:

  • Orthopedic Braces – Wearing orthopedic braces reduces the spinal load. This helps improve locomotor activities for the pregnant women.
  • Exercise Therapy – Exercise helps to prevent increased curvature. During exercise therapy, various groups of muscle are worked to improve muscular tone in preparation for labor.
  • Healthy Nutrition – During pregnancy, eat a healthy diet. Include foods that are rich in vitamins, calcium, and collagen.

These activities are used to reduce pain and discomfort in the spine. Your doctor may also recommend that you wear a maternity belt, avoid hard work and take lots of physical rest. The key is to take good care of yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions About Scoliosis and Pregnancy

Does Scoliosis Complicate Labor?

In years gone by, doctors routinely performed Caesarean sections on any woman with scoliosis. This has, however, changed as more women choose vaginal delivery. In turn, doctors have realized that this is a safe option in most cases.

Delivery is generally the same whether a woman has scoliosis or not. There are a few differences, however, which include:

  • Pregnant women whose hips have malformations may experience stalled labor as the baby may be malpositioned.
  • Women with scoliosis may find it difficult to push during labor due to spinal weakness.
  • It may be difficult to perform an epidural procedure on a woman with scoliosis. This is even more difficult when a woman has undergone spinal fusion surgery.

It is recommended that in case you have scoliosis and pregnancy, you discuss the issue of pain management during delivery with your doctor long before your time of delivery.

Can Your Baby Inherit Scoliosis?

While the exact cause of scoliosis is not known, the condition is generally hereditary. Studies have established that about 30 percent of people with scoliosis come from families with a history of previous cases. This does not, however, mean every baby born to a woman with scoliosis will inherit the condition. About one in three children whose parents have scoliosis develop the condition, with the risk being higher in girls than boys.

What Can I Do to Ensure My Child Does Not Develop Scoliosis?

Because little is known about the cause of scoliosis or its prevention, little can be done to prevent it. Some studies suggest that swimming indoors or high amounts of chlorine in the period of pregnancy may lead to development of scoliosis in the baby. Some preliminary theories point to heavy metals, including mercury as possible causative factors. Avoid these suspected conditions if you have scoliosis.

In Which Cases Is Surgery Needed During Pregnancy Planning?

Surgery may be indicated in some cases when planning for pregnancy, including:

  • In case of severe pain syndrome which is not helped by medication
  • When the Cobb angle (curvature) exceeds 45°. In case the frontal plane of the spinal axis is curved beyond 60°, immediate surgery is necessary.
  • In cases of spinal and pelvic defects and disorders that may prevent normal childbearing
 
 
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