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Pregnancy after disc prolapse?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Lower Back Pain
I had a severe disc prolapse (diagnosed after MRI as protrusion and degeneration of a disc in lower back) 2 years back. Lifting a heavy bag triggered it. Earlier I had a milder episode once. This time it was severe. The doc put me on hydrocodone. Many months I was walking slowly. All actions were slow and careful. In the last two years it healed very gradually. I had sciatica when the pain was bad. Now when I over exert I feel some back pain and sciatic pain.
I am not on pain killers. At the same time I don't bend and pick up anything at all. I don't lift bags. I cannot run, do pilates, yoga as exercise. I recently started doing Tai Chi and like it. I am trying to walk regularly.
I would like to know about the experiences of women with bad backs going through pregnancy and childbirth. I would like that to happen but would not want to compromise on taking care of my four year old, my full time job and other housework. How have others gone through this? It's hard to pluck up the courage remembering how bad it all was!
Thank you for your responses:)


  • I've had back problems since I was pregnant with my eldest. It is possible to have a pregnancy without back pain, but you do need to be careful.Pregnancy loosens up all your ligaments so you need to be extra vigilent about bending and lifting. I can't comment about natural childbirth though as both my kids were emergency C-sections. I would speak to your dr about it and what precautions you can take if you do decide to try for it.
  • Hello Scottiegal,
    Thanks for the reply. How did you handle pain in pregnancy? Were you in a condition to take care of your newborns? You say you had back issues from the time you had your eldest? Did it go away completely after having the baby or did you continue to have pain and still went ahead with having more children?
    I tried picking up my friends's 11 month old and bending and picking her up from the floor caused mild pain. Do you encounter difficulties in day to day handling/ raising of babies.
    Thanks for sharing!
  • Hi Lill,
    I had my last child 3 1/2 years ago, with a bad back. I call this child my "bonus baby" since it was a surprise pregnancy, I was 40 when I had him and my youngest at the time was 9. My story is a little different than yours I had surgery jan 2000 and a few years after that I started to get hit with shooting pain again. Well I ended up pregnant and was also going to a chiropractor then, which I continued throughout my pregnancy, seemed to offer some relief. I would ice my low back when uncomfortable and lay or sit down. My older children were capable of fending for themselves if need be, so that was helpful, also I stay at home so I didn't have the demands of an outside job, just all the stuff that I do at home, but that doesn't matter if I'm up and and showered by 8 am or noon! (the showered part I don't get to sleep in anymore) It seemed like when I went to my ob/gyn doctor, who is great, that he really didn't offer much advice about my situation, I know he isn't a back specialist. He did send me to and anestheliogist (?) to see if I could get an epidural during delivery, which I did. My delivery actually went fast and once I got the epidural it was my best delivery out of 4. (chiropractor kept telling me it would go faster, who knows if that helped?) For me my back has never been the same, I have chronic pain everyday now. It was hard caring for my little guy, the lifting, carrying, picking up, not being able to rest or ice when I needed to. I have older children and a husband who helped with carrying him, especially with the car seat. I learned to park close to shopping carts and always have a stroller in my vehicle when out in public. As a toddler I seldom ever carried him I even taught him to climb into his high chair. Is he worth it yes, but for my personal situation living with this chronic pain is harder than being pregnant x4. Everybody is different though I would try to seek out a doctors opinion and ask them if they now of anyone who has gone through it. You could have a completely different story than me, like I said I had had surgery before hand and was having problems when I got pregnant. You sound like a very busy mom and this could possibly be a different experience than your first pregnancy, one thing I've learned is you have to adapt to doing things in a new way when dealing with back pain. I would never tell someone not to have a child, I know I always wanted to have more than one, but it could be more of a challenge for you, but hopefully I'm wrong and it won't affect you the way it did me. I'm going to end for now, I'm cooking our Christmas dinner and I'm pretty hungry I hope I didn't ramble on too much. Take care. momma
  • Momma z,
    Thanks for the reply. Wow you are a tough one! Everyday pain's got to be hard. I think all the stuff we do at home can be quite challenging, sometimes more so physically, as at home we're up on our feet all the time tending to things.
    Your ob/gyn sent you to an anesthesiologist, that was great. Mine did not offer to send me but when I asked her if I could receive an epidural in event of a pregnancy, she has set up an appointment for me with an anesthesiologist.
    It's good that your older children and husband could help with carrying the baby. If I decide to have one, the one good thing will be that my first one will be older and more independent. I don't know how the rest of the experience will be! I'm trying to do core strengthening. Am planning to attempt a Pilates class (couldn't even do that till now). Yes you're right about adapting. We have to do that everyday, don't we? My boy runs and climbs on to a couch/ table when he wants to be picked up. I never bend and pick him. He has been climbing onto his carseat from some time now.
    Kudos to you for cooking the Christmas dinner. I hope you feel better and your pain eases. Hope you are having a great Christmas!
    Thanks :)
  • My back problems did ease after the birth, but they weren't as severe then as they are now. One thing I did differently with my second child was to never carry him in a carseat. If I took him out I always put him in a stroller that lay flat and my changing table was at waist height so I wasn't bending over him.

    Do make sure that the Pilates instructor knows how to adjust the exercises for back problems. I went to one who made me do the same exercises as everyone else and my disc went again. I subsequently went to a Pilates class run by a physiotherapist who said that quite a few of the exercises needed to be adjusted for back problems.
  • Thank you for the tips. Yes carseat was one thing I was worried about. I think it would be out of question to carry the carseat. And a proper height changing table would be a huge help. I will try to find a physiotherapist pilates instructor.
    Your pain eased after birth. What made it worse afterwards? I do see you mention a fall on ice. Is that what did it? I hope your planned surgery in the new year goes well.
    Thanks for the suggestions and support. This forum really helps. This is so hard for everyone.
  • Hi Scottiegal, Momma z and anyone else who is listening,
    Talking of exercise, I tried doing the exercises described as 'back strengthening exercises during pregnancy' on the spine-health website and found them nice and doable. I have been doing them. What's your opinion of them? Have you tried them? Did they help you?

  • In 2006 I foolishly lifted my then 2 year old from where I was sitting on a child sized seat to a standing position (in an ER no less!) I herniated the disc and 2 days later was having an emergency MRI for suspected Cauda Equina Syndrome. It wasn't that but at the time I was just told to live with it (You have to love the National Health here in the UK). A year later I was walking our Rhodesian Ridgeback when she pulled to hard and I felt my back go again. This time no MRI, just PT for 3 months. Jan this year I fell on some ice and within a couple of days could hardly walk because of the back pain and leg numbness. Fortunately hubby has medical aid through work and I got referred to a surgeon privately. I had a microdiscectomy in May but was having ongoing problems and then in November I herniated the disc below. All in all those two discs are toast so I'm hoping the fusion will help. Forget going out to work - at the moment I can't even be a housewife and mother.
  • Hi Lill,
    I did forget to mention that I did stretching exercises when I was pregnant, they were ones that I had learned before and after my surgery. For me stretching helps maybe you could try those listed on this site, it's good to stretch even if you're not pregnant. You sound like you are doing your research, that's good. My little also climbs into his carseat by himself! I think you sound like someone who really wants another baby, you know us moms we will find a way to take care of our little ones, it may not be some of the "normal" ways but we get it done. I'm not going to sugar coat it I have shed a lot of tears over the things I've lost due to my pain, like carrying my baby around, running after him, going to physical therapy and having to take a baby with me because I didn't have anyone to watch him, there have been a lot of tough times, but can I imagine my life without him, not for a second. Remember your back situation is unique to you and my experience may not be yours. Would you regret not having another one? Having more pain? I never blame my child for my additional pain, but for me I know the pregnancy made it worse, but who's to say it wouldn't have gotten worse anyway??? I wish you all the best and thanks for saying I'm tough, I don't feel that I am, but I guess another "spiney" would understand. Momma
  • Hi,
    Didn't mean to be tardy, but couldn't get back to you girls sooner. Scottiegal, actually what you said made me feel so bad that I didn't quite know what to say, especially your last sentence in the post. I know it is hearbreaking to not be able to take care of your little ones. I hope you have support and help. I hope and pray that 2010 will be better for you. I have heard of the National Health in UK. You must have felt helpless after being denied help and therapy.
    You know, before starting any exercise or anything new, you are supposed to ask your doc, when I asked my doc (orthopedics) of what she thought about a potential pregnancy, she skirted the issue. She said don't do anything that induces pain. My internist was more straightforward. She said arrange back-up. My Ob/Gyn said there are no contraindications and in life we live with 70% not 100%. I am telling this because I found all of these responses inadequate and actually funny. Probably the internist was the most honest.
    Momma, I really feel like I belong here. Thanks for being my co-spiney. Till now I thought I have issues that no one I know has. Now I know a lot of people.
    Regrets - hmm interesting question. When I was in bed with my first (or second) injury and severe pain the thought that this would get in the way of having another child would make me cry often. Not being able to pick up and take care of my first, would make me cry even more. To some extent I have come to terms with the idea that my child will be my one and only. I wanted a sibling for him. He's a friendly fun loving little guy and would have enjoyed a sibling. I don't want to be in a position where I cannot take care of him while trying to give him something new. Catch 22.The Spiney dilemma :)Another thing is the thought of being in big 'back trouble' during pregnancy really scares me. Don't know yet. I'm trying not to over think.
    Thanks for being there for me. Happy New Year. Please be in touch
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