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Pregnancy after surgery?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had a microdiscectomy and laminectomy at L4-L5 in March of 2008. I had drop foot and leg weakness & numbness. I still suffer a bit from the weakness and numbness/tingling. I have a tear at S1-L5, and a small disc protrusion at L3-L4.

I did well in PT, and took Pilates classes (private, machine based sessions) last fall. I really need to be better about doing my 'homework' exercises... :)

I would like to hear from anyone who has had a similar condition/surgery and then became pregnant. We want another child (our son is 2.5 yo), but due to my back problems, I am very hesitant to become pregnant, but part of me wants to have another biological child so very much.

Another part of me wonders if I'd be debilitated after pregnancy and delivery, unable to care for myself or my children as I was after back surgery (my mother had to live with us for nearly 6 weeks since I couldn't lift our son). I wonder if I will require additional surgery due to being pregnant

Any info is greatly appreciated!


  • Welcome to the board ~

    I think your best bet would be to talk this over with your ob. He knows how your first pregnancy went, how difficult was your delivery, etc.

    Many women have babies after spine surgery...but it just depends on your health, and all those issues that only your doctors can advise you about.

    Good luck. I hope it all works out for you and your husband.
  • I had my son about 2.5 years after I had my microdiscectomy and laminectomy of l-4&5. My surgeon told me that I just needed to practice proper lifting techniques like anyone else should do.

    To tell you the truth I felt the best in my back when I was pregnant because of all the progesterone. My joints felt nicely lubricated and everything felt really good. I am having a fusion next week and my current ortho surgeon said that I can have another baby later on with no problem in regards to my back but my back could not support another pregnancy as it is now. So that was a big key in helping me to make my decision about having a fusion because if it was going to interfere with having more children, I don't think I could have made that decision so easily.

    So I hope that helps and can give you hope.
  • Thanks so much for your input ladies. I mentioned it to my OB last June, but I forgot about the tear at L5- S1, so I'm bringing in my MRI later this month. My surgeon wasn't very helpful when I asked him about it.

    Webmommy-did you have a regular or c/s delivery? I remember my back feeling better while pregnant too. I've read that since the SI joint moves during delivery, a c/s might be better, I hope my OB can offer some good advice, she's great and much more talkative than my neurosurgeon (though I think he did good work). ;)

    Sorry to hear you are having a fusion, I hope everything heals up quickly for you.
  • Neurosurgeons usually aren't the world's best communicators!

    It may be that the tear will heal by the time you get pregnant again.
  • Hi Jennifer,

    I had the same op as you in January 2008 but at L4L5. At the time I had a 2 year old and a 6 month old to look after, so I know how hard it can be to care for little ones when you are in pain and can't manage properly. However, my surgery was a big success and I have just found out I am pregnant again. It is really early stages so I can't yet comment on the effects on my back, but my neurosurgeon said it shouldn't cause me any problems.

    My only worry at this stage is the delivery, as that is how I injured my back originally. My son was pretty big (over 9lbs) and he got stuck with shoulder dystocia. As part as the emergency procedure to free him the nurses flexed my legs back towards my face to change the shape of my pelvis. It did the trick and my son was born but I ruptured the L4L5 disc in my back and had massive problems until the operation to fix it 6 months later.

    I haven't yet discussed the options with my Dr or midwife as to what they recommend for this delivery but I'll let you know if they have any advice for Mums to be that have had prior back problems.

    Hope this wasn't "too much information"!

    Take care

  • Congratulations Cheeka! My OB mentioned I would only be able to have a light epidural so I could feel everything well enough so they wouldn't yank my legs back too far, causing further damage. That shoulder dystocia is scary stuff, glad your baby is ok, but I am so sorry your back was injured.

    Though the thought of a c/s scares me, but the thought of bulging or rupturing discs during a vaginal delivery scares me even more. :(

    Gwennie-I was told tears don't heal, perhaps they do? I'm going to try to start PT again, since I'm having pain and I'm nearly certain it is the tear at L5-S1.

    You ladies have given me a few glimmers of hope. :)
  • Jennifer75 said:
    Webmommy-did you have a regular or c/s delivery? I remember my back feeling better while pregnant too. I've read that since the SI joint moves during delivery, a c/s might be better, I hope my OB can offer some good advice, she's great and much more talkative than my neurosurgeon (though I think he did good work). ;)

    Sorry to hear you are having a fusion, I hope everything heals up quickly for you.
    Thanks, me too! Like I said, I felt the best when I was pregnant and since I can't stay pregnant all the time, a fusion is the next best thing!

    Well you might have to take what I said about feeling the best pregnant with a grain of salt because I didn't make it to the end. I had a c-section because I went into premature labor at 27 weeks 5 days and my son was coming out feet first. The SI joint moves during pregnancy too because that is how we wonderful women are designed to grow and accommodate a baby. I have had problems with my SI joint ever since, but the root of my SI joint moving all over the place after my pregnancy ended wasn't due to the pregnancy but the old, dried out discs and the previous laminectomy that was causing instability upwards and downwards.

    I asked specifically of my ortho if I will be able to give birth anyway I wanted too and he said yes. So hopefully I won't have anymore footling breech preemies and have a homebirth like I really want too. I don't think I would have accepted a fusion automatically qualifying me for a c-section and would have tried to find the best method to have my cake and eat it too! :)
  • I had a percutaneous discetomy at L4-L5 when I was 16, I'm now 33. I also hesitatd whether or not to have a baby. I decided to get in the best shape possible, with pilates and walking and core exercises and I started going to PT at 5 months pregnant. I did have a C-section and when I tried getting back into shape after 6-8 weeks, I totally blew my back out. Since that time I have had 2 steroid injections and taken oral steroids, once I stopped nursing when my baby was 7 months old. I am now waiting to get all 3 discs replaced with artificial discs. I am not sure whether to do the surgery before or after having baby number 2. My neurosurgeon said, just keep living your life, but it is hard. I have had times when I couldn't pick the baby up, I am in the same boat as you. I know that once I stopped nursing the hormone relaxin let all of the ligaments around the sacrum tighten back up. I may end up just paying for surgery myself since the FDA has approved having 3 artificial discs. Mine are bulging, degenerative and have tears in the annulus. I'm a mess, but somehow I still manage to go to work and care for my family, just limited and having to take muscle relaxers, celebrex and pain pills with steroids to take the inflammation down. To me it is worth it to have such a beautiful baby. I want more but I also wonder if my body could handle it, I can't even barely vacuum the house or lift more than 20 lbs. You are not alone.
  • I meant to say the FDA has not approved 3 level ADR>
  • Hi,
    After my first child I developed DDD and had to have an L2-L4 fusion. Was able to get pregnant about a year later. Didn't carry baby full term, she was 10 weeks early. In a way that was probably best for my back because carrying to full term I think would have done me in. This Baby is now 4 years old, and guess what? I have more degeneration of 2 discs under my fusion, as well as will be going in soon for a cervical fusion. I don't think it is so much the pregnancy that you have to worry about, its everything that happens after. Remember: all the constant lifting, bending, akward moves that go on for years until they can do things for themselves. When you have a fusion the spine above and below
    take the brunt of all the movement. My spine Surgeon told me in no uncertain terms to not even think about having a third child, and kind of hinted that the second one wasn't the brightest idea for my spine health. Of course, I look at Phoebe and have no regrets; just go into this with your eyes wide open. If you do decide to get pregnant take special care of your back and let others help you do some lifting, etc. Good luck.
  • Thank you for asking this and thanks to all who answered. I was thinking about this as I'm facing the surgery decision. (Laminectomy) ... We have a 3 year old and having another one is something that is up in the air... more so now, really.

    Thank you, ladies, for your contributions on this.

  • I finally found this thread and am so glad to have done. I have finally found the man I love and am marrying May 22 next year. At 37 years old I don't have an awful lot of time to have a family. My spinal fusion at L4-5 was in Jan and I am still going through the recovery phase. I do want to be able to have a child but was worried about pregnancy and delivery after having had the operation. I was glad to read that it is possible after surgery but things may be tough afterwards. The fact that my fiance stuck by me during the back pain hell and the surgery was more than I could have hoped for. Is there anywhere else where there is information on pregnancy and people with chronic back problems?
  • All I can say don't skimp on your exercises. I have stuck to my exercise regime from PT every day. It has become my bed time routine like brushing my teeth.

    Like you, I have worried about pregnancy after my microd. Haven't discussed the possibility because I am still recovering.
  • Last time I posted I had just found out I was pregnant with my third baby, my back was originally injured at L4-L5 in the delivery of my second. I have talked with my Doc and the midwife and they had different opinions about what would be recommended for the birth.

    The Doc said she thought the hospital would want me to be induced 2 weeks early to prevent the baby from being too big, making it less likely to get another shoulder dystocia issue, but the midwife said she would be comfortable with me going full term and just being monitored more closely in labour.

    They have refered me onto the consultant and I have a meeting with him at the hospital in a months time when I will be 16 weeks along. I'll post then when I know what his recommendation will be.

    Another issue is whether I can have an epidural, I have been booked to see another specialist at 24 weeks so he can assess if it would be an option or not due to my surgery scar.

    Hope everyone is having a good day,

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