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A Cesarean Section & Herniated Disk

by
author image Jonathan Croswell
Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.
A Cesarean Section & Herniated Disk
Complications can make pregnancy a very difficult time for expecting mothers. Photo Credit Hill Street Studios/Blend Images/Getty Images

Cesarean sections can be both scary and taxing on a mother's body, but in some cases they are the only option. C-sections are usually reserved for women who have physical problems that prevent them from giving birth naturally with a high chance of success, or for women or babies whose safety is put at considerable risk by giving birth through the vaginal canal. But prior to giving birth, some women also experience herniated disks during pregnancy, which can cause significant discomfort and pain on its own.

Expert Insight

Although weight is considered a risk factor for herniated disks, there appears to be no relationship between Cesarean sections and this back problem. SpineUniverse.com reports that herniated disks while pregnant are very rare, and even if they do occur, there is nothing to suggest that they increase the risk or contribute to c-sections in any way.

Herniated Disk Risk Factors

Several factors can increase your risk of a herniated disk. According to MayoClinic.com, they are most likely to occur between ages 35 and 45, as aging-related degeneration begins to set in. Being overweight also stresses the disk, as does having above-average height. Smoking and physically demanding jobs are other factors that can decrease disk health and lead to a herniation.

C-Section Function

Women have c-sections for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common include a baby's reduced heart rate during the birthing process, inability to progress through the labor, an abnormally positioned baby, giving birth to multiple children, having a child with a large head or specific health concerns with either the mother or the baby, according to MayoClinic.com.

Risks

For a baby, consistent oxygen intake and the risk of surgical nicks on the skin are a threat during a c-section. A mother has many other risks to worry about, including infection of he uterus, increased bleeding and blot clots. A reaction to local anesthesia is possible, and surgical injuries to other organs may occur. You may also find it more difficult to give birth in the future, according to MayoClinic.com.

Considerations

Some women mistake severe back pain while pregnant as being due to a herniated disk. Although back pain can be severe in pregnancy, particularly toward the end of gestation, there is no increased rate of disk herniation in pregnant women compared with non-pregnant women, according to SpineUniverse.com, which reports that the rate for all women is about 1 in 10,000.

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