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Pregnancy after fusion

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,550
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:33 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Is there anyone out there who has gone through a pregnancy after spinal fusion? If so please share your story with me!! I am alomst 3 months out from my L5-S1 TLIF MISS. My husband and I have just started trying to conceive our first. My NS said we could start trying 6 weeks after surgery as long as my back felt up to it and other than a little bit of stiffness my back is doing great. But I have a lot of questions and its been hard researching it on the web.
How long after fusion surgery did you get pregnant?
Did you have to have a c-section?
Were they able to do an epidural?
Did you have any complications during the pregnancy from your back issues?

And any other tidbits of information you would be willing to share would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!


  • It seems that we are in a very similar boat! I had a spinal fusion at L4/5 in January this year. At 37 Paul and I would really like to have a family but my back has always been an issue. Especially as I was on strong opiates 75mcg Fentanyl until the surgery.

    I am trying hard to wean off this as I read that it is not good to have a pregnancy whilst on these pain killers. It won't affect the development but the baby would have breathing problems at birth and be born addicted. Hence, so far we have continued to not have a child.

    We are hoping that the fusion will reduce the pain enough so that I can get off the opiates and have a safe pregnancy. I too have heard that a C section may be more appropriate due to a lack of strength in the back for a natural delivery.

    That is all I have managed to find out so far but I would be really interested in hearing other people's opinions and advice. I didn't know that you could begin to conceive so soon after the surgery.

    Good luck
  • Hi Christine,

    I had a microdiscectomy in Jan08 at L4L5, I know its not as major as a fusion but I thought I'd share the info I have on pregnancy after back surgery.

    I ruptured my disc delivering my second baby, he was large (over 9lbs) and got stuck with shoulder dystocia, which means the head is born but the body can't follow as the front shoulder is stuck behind the bony front bit of the pelvis.

    To free the shoulder the medical team flexed my legs back towards my face, fortunatley it did the trick and the baby was born. He was fine but my back was injured and I had my surgery 6 months later and am now glad to say I am fully recovered.

    My neurosurgeon said that my back shouldn't be any more troublesome than normal in any future pregnancies but there might be issues with the delivery. I am now 15 weeks along with my 3rd pregnancy and so far all is well. I am meeting with the consultant in the maternity hospital in 2 weeks to discuss how they want to manage my labour. The options being considered at the moment are an induction 2 weeks early so the baby isn't too big, or a planned c-section.

    There is some discussion about whether I will be able to have an epidural due to the location of my scar, as far as I know they put the needle in at L3/L4 so hopefully it will be OK. I have a different meeting when I get to 24 weeks with the specialist for them to have a look and check if its possible.

    If I can't have an epidural and they need to do a c-section then it would have to be under a general, its not my prefered option but I will do whatever the medical team recommend.

    I am not sure what would be different if I had a fusion rather than a micro D, but if you want I'll let you know what the Docs say and it might give you an idea what the recommendations are.

    Best of luck TTC,

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  • I haven't had spinal surgery, but both of my sons were born c-section. My second son was a scheduled c-section and I did get an epidural. I was going to say that the epidural is up farther on the back than L5-S1, so that shouldn't be a problem for you. As Cheeka mentioned the location of her surgery (and Traskey's too) is a bit closer and more problematic but probably still okay.

    I wonder if it would be possible for you to give birth naturally if you were in a different position? I've heard that at some hospitals they put the mother in an upright squatting position which makes it much easier to push and she has gravity working with her. I'd talk to my ob/gyn about all my options and bring this one up.
  • Hello christine
    I had a baby 2 years post op. I had a plif at l5-s1. My neuro said I had
    solid fusion. I actually found out I was pregnant because I was suppose to have an MRI for back and leg pain. My doctor sent me to physical therapy and about second trimester I could take tylenol with codeine. My doctor recommended a c section and I did have an epidural and everything was fine. My son is 8 months old and I finally had that MRI and it showed I have. Torn disk above where I am fused. Also mri states l5-s1 is partially fused. I'm guessing it was never a solid fusion like my neuro thought. Im waiting to hear from his office. Basically I have adjacent segment disease but is has only been 3 years since my surgery I thought that happens 5 to 10 years after fusion . So I don't know if my present back problems are because the pregnancy or hauling around a 20 pound baby but all I know is that looking at his toothless smile makes my heart melt and it was worth it. I have a girl and. a boy and now my family is complete and I can now focus on my health. It's hard though dealing with the back pain and being sleepy from pain meds but somehow you just manage.
  • Hello there,

    I am 37 years old and have no children because it took 32 years to find someone. After two years of dating I underwent an invasive surgery to stop urinary reflux, stop damaging my kidneys, and help us have a healthy pregnancy. Four years later...no baby.

    I have been facing the possibility of having a cervical fusion, taking tylenol arthritis (that has set in), darvocet, and anything that will allow me to sleep through the night. I can't take anymore but I am scared to death of the white coats, hospitals, more pain, and most importantly someone screwing up. I want a baby!!!!

    I am astonished at how little information is out there about this topic. Did I mention I have been unemployed for 5 months. Stop Smoking. Have the surgery. Don't worry. Who comes up with this crap? Then as I sit here having a muscle spasm and not sleeping at 3am. Maybe it is just worth it to feel better so I can have that baby. hmmmm

    Just some thoughts. Let's stay in touch. I would like to talk more about this topic and see what we can find out together.
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  • Just 2 cents: did your doctor use BMP? I didn't find out until long after my surgery (not brought up by my surgeon or in consent forms), but there is a contraindicated to get pregnant within one year of receiving BMP. Apparently there is a risk to making antibodies to BMP at that time and that can affect a developing fetus' skeleton. Studies in rabbits & other small animals show high risk of fetal skeletal defects if pregnancy occurs shortly after BMP. Wish my doc had mentioned it.
  • In 2001 I had and L4-L5, L5-S1 fusion and still have the hardware in my back. The surgery greatly reduced the pain in my back and legs but it took quite a few years for things to stop hurting. I do have problems with the muscles in my legs above the knee but walking daily helps to relieve the pain. I may be pregnant and though I'm 36 this would be my first child. I'm nervous about the pregnancy because of the fusion and the hardware still being in my back. I do have some pain but I can deal with it now because it isn't anywhere near as bad as it use to be and occasionally take Ibuprofen if it happens to get worse. I know my low back has no flexibility and with the changes that take place in the body during pregnancy and the risks of something going wrong during child birth I have no idea what I am to expect. Can anyone who has had the same fusion and had children afterwards give me an idea of what to expect?
  • Hello, I am 39. I had a fusion at L4-L5 in 2014, following two decades of herniated discs and pain. I am supposed to have an ALIF at L5-S1, though the reovery from my last surgery took almost two years and I was never able to return to work. I have always wanted a baby, but feared my back could not survive pregnancy. My doctor told me I should be able to get pregnant and carry a child after this surgery. Would those who have had similar surgeries and got pregnant recommend doing things in this order, especially if you have had back problems for many, many years? How soon Ayer surgery did you become pregnant? What complications arose for you? Thank you in advance for any advice/input you can share!

  • LizLiz Posts: 8,964

    This is an old discussion it was created by someone no longer on the forum so I am closing it

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
This discussion has been closed.
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