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Risks of herniated discs to childbirth?

(8 Posts)
CAM123 Wed 22-Jul-09 16:15:23

I have a pretty lengthy history of torn, emptied and slipped / herniated (bulging) discs - specifically L4-L5 and L5-S1 in the lower base of the spine.

I can't seem to find any clear advice on what the implications might be on childbirth itself. I last slipped 2 discs walking up stairs, so am guessing childbirth is a tad mor physical and risky...

Finding it very difficult to find proper advice as the midwife isn't a back specialist and the back specialist isn't a childbirth specialist. Anyone have any tips on who I should speak to?

I do have an appointment with the anaesthetist to check out whether it might also have an impact on my eligibility for the epidural - e.g. the placement of the epidural itself and whether it'll work, as well as whether it might ultimately help or hinder the back problems.

Just worried that I'd hate to add slipped discs to my recovery post childbirth as could really mess up things overall and likely will make sitting up and breastfeeding a real difficulty.

Any tips / personal experiences?

Jammybodger Thu 23-Jul-09 06:43:00

The spine gets extremely supple when the muscle and ligaments are flooded by the 'birthing' hormones to make delivery easier. Personally I found the most damaging time and when I had 2 slipped discs was when the baby was 8 mths old and getting them in and out of carseats, carrying all manner of baby paraphernalia around etc.

You would have to take serious preventative measures if you do suffer, I had a live in Au Pair as no family nearby. You'll need to think of who can take over if you do have problems.

CAM123 Sun 26-Jul-09 09:46:16

Thanks for the advice / reassurance. Fingers crossed..!

definitelypregnantagain Sun 26-Jul-09 20:25:06

I too have a long-standing history of disc prolapses in the L4-L5 and L5-S1 area. With my first baby, my orthopaedic Consultant basically banned me from having a natural delivery as he said i would have caused more damage (it wasn't that long since my original back injury, pregnancy unplanned!), and i'm currently 37 weeks pg with my second, and again i've got a c-section booked for the same reason.

CAM123 Mon 27-Jul-09 16:08:34

Ah, ok... interesting. When you say 'consultant' do you mean your back consultant or consultant at the hospital / maternity unit. Who do you think would be best placed to make the decision for me also? My midwife, GP and physio have all individually floundered and said they've no idea... I asked for a referral to the back specialist I'd previously seen on the last slip (last year), but my GP was reluctant and said I should email him instead / first - suffice to say he hasn't yet replied and time is ticking...

Deemented Mon 27-Jul-09 22:10:17

I'm watching this thread with interest - am currently having disc problems, and i can envisage that these may well prevent me from having the type of birth i want.

Stannie Tue 28-Jul-09 11:44:51

I will also be watching this thread. I have similar problems (incl a herniated/bulged dic which resulting in Cauda Equina Syndrome and an emergency Discectomy)

Have read that this can be a problem in childbirth but Docs/Consultants are all pooh-poohing the idea.. I am VERY worried and no one seems to be able to help/shed any light.

CAM123 Mon 03-Aug-09 16:35:34

Met with an anaesthetist today and will be meeting the consultant at the hospital I'm booked into next week so will keep you posted - though clearly every case is different, so we each need personalised advice.

Anaesthetist talked me through pros and cons of epidural in my situation - beyond the normal basics.

Basically, the epidural can go above where my problem is (can go L3-4) and will take away all pain. No issue with epidural and back problems such as I have - in fact epidural would have been one of the ways of dealing with them if required. Apparently it's just in things like spinal fusion / prevoius epidurals that fibrosis could block the epidural working.

Only thing, as expected, is slight risk of further herniation during labour, as the pain relief means you don't have awareness of risk of slipping discs. So, need to be careful to stay in the right position as much as possible which, in my case, means no twists or sudden turns and bringing in the tail bone etc - i.e. not putting pressure on the area at risk and just being aware that no pain doesn't mean no risk of damage whilst under the anaesthetic.

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