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Childbirth wih DDD

Hi everyone!

I am 31 years old and 14 weeks pregnant. I have DDD in my lower back, which was diagnosed around 10 years ago. At that time I had severe back pain caused by hernia and same time the DDD was discovered. I would't say my DDD is yet that severe but sure I have pain on and off, sometimes for months and sometimes just a few days. At the moment I am pain free but Im quite sure it will get worse at some point during the pregnancy. I am especially worried that the delivery will make the condition worse.

Now I would like to hear some experiences from women who have delivered with DDD. Did it go well and do you feel your back became worse afterwards? Or where you recommended c-section? What would you recommend? Lifting up the baby/toddler will of course be bad as well.. But I would like to keep my back more or less in good condition if possible! I will have to discuss this with a doctor but would like to have some idea of what to expect.



  • or another, if we are over the age of 21-25 years old. It is a normally occurring process of the discs loosing a tiny bit of hydration as we get older.
    There is no reason, unless the ddd is severe in nature, or there are other issues going on that it should effect giving birth, in any manner.
    Back aches are common in pregnancy, due to the hormones and loosening of ligaments in preparation for giving birth.
    Unless it is medically necessary , a c section isn't necessary due to a ddd diagnosis.
    Stretching, walking, strengthening excercises, yoga all may be helpful in dealing with the occassional aches and pains.

  • Thanks sandi!

    So there shouldn't be a significant risk of rupturing a disk, have a disk pop out or anyhow damage the disks more due to the pressure on the spine while giving birth? Or having problems with the epidural?

    My older brother also has DDD and has been eating pain meds for chronic pain quite long already. I would like to avoid that!
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 08/22/2014 - 9:40 AM
    DDD gives people the idea that there is some disease process going on in their spines. THAT idea is not correct. Our spines contain vertebra ( bones ) and discs- think of a jelly doughnut......it has the outer crust that contains the jelly inside the doughnut......if you were to leave a jelly doughnut on the counter for a week or so, eventually, the crust is going to dry out, and the jelly inside it will harden a bit.....discs are like a jelly doughnut, have no blood system to bring fluids to the discs, so over decades, they eventually loose a tiny bit of moisture in the discs. Over decades in the large majority of people , this same process occurs in the discs. It is an anatomical finding on MRI, and when people see it, and see that it is called a disease ( meaning a biological process), they automatically assume that it is degenerative ( it is technically) but that it means that there is something wrong with the discs......it is a naturally occurring process of aging...
    All of that being said, in some rarer instances, it can be significantly worse for some people than others, in part , due to hereditory factors, or sports playing , football and gymnastics come to mind, where the spine and discs are subjected to extreme movement and impacts, or through heavy, manual labor or injury that might lead to worse symptoms and faster progression in some few individuals.
    If a disc is so severely dehydrated that it collapses, then surgery might be warranted or if it is effecting other structures in the spine, then further treatment might be necessary, but those cases are fewer than you would think by reading about ddd.
    By and large, the majority of the population has some form of ddd, and manages it quite easily with using anti inflammatory medications for flares, stretching, excercising, and strengthening usually does far more for those with occassional back pain than anything else.
    As far as the pregnancy issue goes, assuming that all things are going well, and there is nothing else of signifcance going on with your spine, I would expect that you will have an occassional flare simply due to being pregnant, and give birth normally without any issues.
  • no, there is no reason to fear a disc popping..Your spine has some built in flexibility to compensate for carrying a baby, and should have no effect in your spine. The lordosis or curves in your spine are there for just that reason, to give you extra flexibility and strength to carry a baby.
    As far as the epidural goes, that medication is delivered into the spinal cord ( dura) to numb your saddle area for giving birth and has no bearing on the discs themselves.
  • I went through pregnancy & childbirth with several severe spine conditions. I found yoga, massage & physical therapists who had specialized in both pregnancy & spine conditions, they were fantastic, particularly my massage therapist. She was a life saver!! Please make sure that your therapists are very experienced in dealing with pregnant women. Having a specialist instruct you in the best ways to lift, carry, feed etc your baby could be valuable. I found dealing with toddlers far more damaging & painful than pregnancy & childbirth. It's harder to observe restrictions, correct posture & lifting, bending with little tornados whirling around!

    I had MRIs before & after there was no change in my condition. I didn't have a c-section with either of my kids. I was advised it could be worse for my back...maintaining strong core muscles is very important.

    Congratulations! Try not to worry. My pregnancies were far smoother than I expected. Just take care of yourself. There are specialists to help you deal with any problems that may arise. ;-)
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • Congrats on your pregnancy! I was also 31 when I gave birth to my daughter (9 years ago). I have DDD and a few other issues going on. I had 5 low back surgeries before becoming pregnant. I was very nervous and docs said I would most likely be on bed rest. To everyone's surprise I felt great through the entire pregnancy! Even with gaining an obscene amount of weight! LOL! With my delivery I was put to sleep. I have had issues with epidurals in the past (spinal headaches) and the doctors did not want to chance anything going wrong. There was pros and cons. Pros was that I never experienced labor, pain, etc…. Cons, my husband could not be in the operating room because there were so many people in there and they had to do everything so quickly and also I did not get to see my baby for a couple hours after she was born since I was in a recovery room. Speak with all your doctors and anesthesiologist and see what will work best for you. Best of luck!
  • I gave birth to my 3 baby while I had severe DDD pain. It was the worst labor I've ever had. They did an epidural, but it didn't work at all. The contractions were hell and when the baby dropped I was screaming and crying form the back pain which hurt way worse then the natural birth. After that experience I decided to have my tubes tied so I would never have to experience it again. Keep in mind I have DDD in every disc, osteoarthritis of the spine, spinal stenosis, scoliosis and hip bersitis. The back pain became so much worse after giving birth and they had to put me on 60mg of morphine and 10mg of oxycodone to help, but it didn't do much. I hope your labor goes better then mine. I wouldn't wish that pain on my worst enemy. Good luck hun and congratulations.
  • Just wanted to give you an update. I gave birth 6,5 months ago and everything is going well. In the end I did not experience anything out of the ordinary during my pregnancy. However during child birth I had severe pain in my lower back and the contractions were really hard on my back. The epidural did help in my case, but before that nothing was really working except maybe my husband's heavy massaging! Finaly I ended up having a c-section (for other reasons), which went well and I have had no problems with recovery. Also carrying the baby has not been as bad as I thought, but he is still growing so let's see! Anyway, a happy ending to my story so far! :)
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