Scoliosis and pregnancy

Pregnant with scoliosis – what does science tell us?

What must scoliosis patients actually anticipate during pregnancy?

Scoliosis patients ask themselves which problems can arise during a pregnancy. Will the scoliosis worsen? Will pains arise, or will currently existing pains worsen? Is a natural birth possible, or is a Caesarian section to be performed? Is a pregnancy even possible?

Numerous young women with scoliosis report that their physicians urgently advise them against a pregnancy or even question it. There are blanket statements which predict complications during pregnancy or a severe worsening of scoliosis as well as massive pain.

pregnancy with scoliosis is possible

Scoliosis – Partnership – Sexuality – Pregnancy – Birth, scoliosis patients are often faced with many questions, for a detailed evaluation should be consulted always scoliosis experts

This often causes much uncertainty, although science provides clear results with regard to pregnancies with scoliosis.

There are various scientific papers which examine a connection regarding a worsening of scoliosis and childbirth complications. A differentiation was also made between how and whether the patient was treated beforehand, i.e. operatively with spinal fusions or conservatively with scoliosis braces and physiotherapy. It was also examined how social life – marriage, number of children and sexuality – turns out.

Scoliosis in connection with marriage, sexuality and children

A study published in [1] shows that there is no difference with regard to marriage between scoliosis patients who were treated operatively or with a brace and the control group without scoliosis. Patients with scoliosis (85%) were even married by 3% more. Sexuality can be usually experienced in a normal manner, and is very rarely limited by pains or other causes. Pains are normally less the reason for problems in sexual life than mental problems with regard to appearance.

It also turns out that there is no appreciable difference in the average number of children between scoliosis patients and the control group without scoliosis.

Pains with scoliosis during pregnancy

The question regarding whether and how pains arise or change during pregnancy is one of the most important for those affected.Deep-seated back pains can generally arise during pregnancy. Studies show that there is no appreciable difference between scoliosis patients and women without scoliosis [1].

Shortness of breath and cardiopulmonary function

How does it look with regard to cardiopulmonary function and breathing? Greater problems are generally not anticipated during pregnancy and birth.
In a few cases, shortness of breath can occur with pronounced thoracic scoliosis over 60°. Cardiopulmonary function should nevertheless not be seriously impaired as a result [3].

Increase of scoliosis during pregnancy

One of the most frequently discussed points is the increase in the scoliosis angle. Studies regarding a worsening of scoliosis during pregnancy clearly show that significant worsening does not arise during pregnancy or as a result of births [1] [2].

There is apparently no connection between the increase in the Cobb angle and the number of pregnancies [1]. The associated worsening of scoliosis with increasing age is apparently not intensified by pregnancies [2].

Which form of birth is sensible with scoliosis?

More and more Caesarian sections are being performed nowadays for the most varying reasons. But more often they are not indicated in order to bring about a safe birth for mother and child. It is scientifically demonstrated that problems can only arise during pregnancy and birth among a group of scoliosis patients not worth mentioning. Otherwise there is no evidence that scoliosis could negatively influence the course of events during birth.

There is no evidence that scoliosis patients should have a Caesarian section performed due to scoliosis. Interestingly enough, the frequency of a Caesarian section birth among scoliosis patients in the USA at the end of the 1980s was half of the national average [2] [3].

So it is a fact:

There are apparently no direct connections which attribute a worsening of scoliosis to pregnancy or birth. Back pains arising during pregnancy are marginal compared to control groups without scoliosis. Births can normally occur in a natural way.

If concerns or problems exist, in a particular case it should always be clarified what the causes are and how to proceed. Experienced professionals should be sought for clarification. Blanket opinions or statements that general problems emerge with scoliosis during pregnancy are erroneous.

How does the situation look after birth?

Certainly the following question is very important: How does stress affect the organism and therefore the scoliosis once the child is there?
The burdens in the first three years are enormous. Lack of sleep, breastfeeding, carrying the child and permanent presence demand a great deal of energy from the organism. That is why even more attention is to be given during this period.



  1. Childbearing, Curve Progression, and Sexual Function in Women 22 Years After Treatment for Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis: A Case-Control Study, Danielsson AJ, Nachemson, Alf L. Spine: 1 July2001 – Volume 26 – Issue13 – pp 1449-1458 
  2. Scoliosis and pregnancy. Betz RR, Bunnell WP, Lambrecht-Mulier E, MacEwen GD.
J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1987 Jan;69(1):90-6. 
  3. Pregnancy in thoracic scoliosis. Siegler D, Zorab PA.
Br J Dis Chest. 1981 Oct;75(4):367-70