Spinal surgery and birth

(7 Posts)
BG1234 Mon 07-Sep-20 17:59:40

Hi everyone,
I am due in November and am starting to get a little bit worried about the birth as a ftm with a back condition.

I had a two stage spinal fusion for scoliosis in my teens (am now 38) and had some metal rods put in, some of which were taken out a couple of years later, although I still have a short rod and several nuts/bolts.

Due to Covid I’ve had no face to face appointments until my last one at 28 weeks. I’ve had two assigned midwives over that time and during the calls I’ve brought it up and both have said birthing options are to be discussed with a consultant/anaesthetist at a later date and wait to get a referral letter from a consultant.
My 28 week face to face appointment wasn’t actually with my new assigned midwife but the one I did see was very nice and said she would definitely chase it up because I should have heard by now.

Now I’m approaching 30 wks and am just getting concerned that I haven’t really been able to discuss options with anyone re. labour, possibility of epidural/spinal, cs, etc.

Was wondering if anyone has had any experience of birthing options after this type of surgery? Also wondering if it’s normal to wait this long or if I should be pushing to speak to someone? I think I’m quite a chilled person and don’t like chasing midwives as I know they are under pressure at the moment.


OP’s posts: |
TenThousandSpoons0 Mon 07-Sep-20 20:48:34

You should push to speak to someone - just so that you can know that there’s a plan! Sometimes they like to arrange extra scans as well (eg MRI of your back).

Without knowing much detail, broadly - Often spinal/epidural is not an option, which leaves you with gas/TENs/opioids - some places can do a pain button drop that you control, in this type of scenario. If they can’t do spinal/epidural and you need a CS then you would need to have a general anaesthetic - so normally they talk you through all that at an appointment. Depends on exactly what surgery and what spinal level it has been at.

Usually this wouldn’t affect whether you have a vaginal birth or CS but sometimes could mean that there’s a lower threshold for CS for example if pain control is difficult in labour. Sometimes also needs care with positioning for labour/delivery. Most of the time it’s fine - but definitely would be nice if you could see someone sooner rather than later to confirm!

TenThousandSpoons0 Mon 07-Sep-20 20:50:03

Hmm just re read and maybe your surgery was at a higher spinal level anyway - so you may have no problem at all!

BG1234 Mon 07-Sep-20 22:52:14

Thanks for the reply @TenThousandSpoons0, I need to double check my old x-rays as the midwife asked me that too but I know it was lower thoracic spine. I believe that’s a bit lower than most scoliosis cases...

OP’s posts: |
TenThousandSpoons0 Mon 07-Sep-20 23:01:13

You might be fine if it’s not in the lumbar spine though - but I’m not an anaesthetist, hopefully you get to meet with one soon smile and in the meantime hopefully someone else has more experience to share

BG1234 Mon 07-Sep-20 23:10:26

@TenThousandSpoons0 thanks for your help. I will definitely push for the consultation at my next midwife appointment!

OP’s posts: |
RustyLeesBogBrush Mon 07-Sep-20 23:11:42

I don’t have experience of the same surgery however I did labour twice with grade 4 Osteoarthritis in my spine, bulging discs and spinal stenosis. (Too far gone for fusion or any other surgery when discovered)

As my arthritis was secondary due to childhood spinal trauma and caused significant destruction, I was seen by an anaesthetist at about 25 weeks and made my birth plan with them. I couldn’t have an epidural (my epidural space was severely damaged) and knew going in if I needed serious pain relief it would be a spinal. Labour was hard as my first D.C. was back to back so all the pain was in my back, but manageable.

I found that I had gnawing back pain when changing my babies nappies and honestly it was a struggle some days carrying them as toddlers. You just try to adapt as best you can - I got a changing table at a good height so I wouldn’t be bent over changing them as an example. I did need diclofenac on top of other medications for a while and had to do some physio to strengthen my core muscles again which helped as much as it can, you will know what I mean there.

I would definitely ask to speak to a consultant regarding your options and to help make your birth plan more tailored to your individual circumstances. You definitely need to discuss pain relief and your options should you require intervention.

Good luck!

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