Does anyone have any experience with the pregnancy/birth process and grade 2/3 Spondylolisthesis? I'm not currently pregnant, but I want to get as much information as I can before we make any decisions.  I've been dealing with chronic pain for 10 years and I'm currently taking 200mg of XR ultram a day + 35mg pills as needed and the anti inflammatory voltarin.  I can't function without the pain pills.

My pain management doctor has told me that an epidural is not an option because of the narrowing between my lumbar vertebra, but I wouldn't want one any way.  I want to be able to have a natural birth at home or in a birthing center and would love it if anyone knows of a midwife in the NYC area who has experience working with clients with extreme back pain.  My biggest fears are having to be on bed rest the whole pregnancy or having to have a c-section because of the degree of movement in my spine.

Thanks for your help!

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Hi Jessica - I'm in the same boat!  It was refreshing to see your post because I have been searching for answers myself.  I have a grade 3 spendylo (was grade 2, but just found out it has progressed).  Thankfully (as I am learning) I am lucky to not have much pain. 

I have been looking for a qualified/experienced practitioner to work with to understand the implications of pregnancy and childbirth w/ spendylolisthesis.  I finally found someone who I just began working with.  He recommended doing comprehensive standing/weight bearing xrays (I think this will be helpful for the anesthesiologist in the case of an epidural).  I am also going to be working with this practitioner (he's a DC) to build my strength and alignment before I am pregnant.  He recommended orthotics as well.  My understanding is that our concerns (bed rest, c-section) are certainly possibilities ... but I'm not sure there's any way to know before you go through the pregnancy.  I think working on your core strength is one of the best things to prepare.   I have read on other forums that an epidural is sometimes not possible, as you said.  I am waiting to find out if that's the case with me though I would prefer a natural birth. 

One book that was recommended to me is Back Labor No More - I haven't read it yet.

I'll plan to post on this thread if I learn anything new or find any new resources.  I would really appreciate it you would do the same!


Thought I'd share a bit of my story.  After the birth of my second child I began having back pain.  I knew before this that I had spondylolisthesis (diagnosed when I was 19 or 20).  However, I had very little pain since the diagnosis and only suffered on occasion or my back would feel tired.  Four years ago my son (2nd child) was born.  That very day my back began to hurt. I never had problems during pregnancy - again my back would just feel sore or tired not really painful.  Over the past 4 plus years I've seen a back surgeon, chiropractor, done PT as well as other exercises, traction, and was most successful with an acupuncturist.  However, I still had enough pain that I woke nearly every night. I kept thinking something would work to lessen the pain and we could try for one more child.   Well, we decided to try for a 3rd child.  I figured weather pregnant or not I would be in pain.  Though there have been other expected discomforts, my back pain has subsided - from pain level 5 to 7 down to nearly a 2 or less every day.  I believe the Relaxin has helped to bring some sort of balance back to my body.  Now, I realize I am probably not the norm.  Also, with my first 2 kids I had a natural and relatively easy birth with both. The back surgeon thought it was good I didn't have an epidural, though at the time I didn't give it much thought.  Now that I am in my 8th month of pregnancy, I am preparing again through breathing techniques and have signed up to have water birth as an option. My midwife thought the tub could help significantly with any back pain during labor.  Also I have grade 3 spondy. I am hopeful that the level of back pain won't return with a vengeance post pregnancy, but I won't know for certain until that time arrives.  Best of luck! 

Krista, thanks for sharing your story!  That is really encouraging to hear your experience.  I, too, hope your back pain will not return.  Congratulations on your pregnancy and upcoming birth!  If you think of it, I would love to hear how it goes and your experience with the tub!  I have been thinking that would be helpful with the back pain.  All the best to you!



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