If you’re an expectant mother who became pregnant not long after having spinal fusion surgery, you likely have a few questions. You’ll be pleased to learn there’s no distinct difference between a regular pregnancy and being pregnant following fusion surgery. Here are a few things to consider.
One of the main concerns you might have is how well your fusion will hold when up against the added stress of pregnancy. The long-term success of the surgery may depend on how soon after the procedure you became pregnant. Typically, for a spinal fusion to completely take hold, it takes about a year, and the fusion is at risk of failing if you get pregnant sooner than a year after the surgery.
A caesarean section involves undergoing surgery to deliver your baby, rather than having a natural birth. Studies have shown that the rate of C-sections among women who have undergone fusion surgery versus those who haven’t isn’t strikingly different. If the doctor delivering the baby determines a natural birth will lead to excessive strain on the area where the surgery took place, her or she may recommend a C-section. However, this will vary from patient to patient.
Epidural anesthesia is administered in the area between the spinal cord and the vertebrae of the spine, so you may be concerned about whether or not you can safely receive one of these injections. If a safe spot to administer the epidural can be found and your anesthesiologist is comfortable with the task, you may be able to receive an epidural, but this is often determined by where the fusion took place. There are other ways to reduce pain while giving birth, including spinal block injections and IV medications.
Just because you’ve undergone spinal fusion surgery doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll experience more back pain while pregnant. However, your pain could increase if the fusion hasn’t yet fully formed. If this is the case or if the fusion weakens before you give birth, you may need to undergo a second fusion surgery after you’ve delivered your child.
If you’d like more information on the challenges of post-spinal fusion pregnancy, get in touch with the trusted Los Angeles spine surgery experts at The Spine Institute to discuss your concerns about recovering from spinal fusion as well as other back surgery procedures. To schedule an in-person evaluation, call (310) 828-7757 today.