After pregnancy, I confronted an annoying specter from my childhood — a mild case of S-curve scoliosis, or a sway in the spine that often causes back pain. An injury prompted a visit to a chiropractor, who strongly believed my pregnancy had increased the curve’s severity. That seemed right to me, especially when I looked back on a pregnancy riddled with sudden headaches, back pain, and a diagonal baby bump that grew within the cozy indent in my left side. But can pregnancy make scoliosis worse? Cursory internet research has suggested that pregnancy and scoliosis aren’t as entwined as they felt to me, so what gives?
“Many women report that their scoliosis seems to become more painful during their pregnancy, especially in the low back,” explained Dr. Josh Woggon, executive director of the CLEAR Scoliosis Institute and author of the CLEAR blog, in an email interview with Romper. “The additional weight of the fetus places increased strain upon imbalanced muscles and joints, which can increase the risk of back pain, hip pain, and leg pain.” In terms of its effect on your quality of life, scoliosis is a matter of degree, according to the University of Maryland. Traumatic injury, age-related degeneration, thoracic surgery, and yes, pregnancy, can all increase the role scoliosis plays in your life.
According to Woggon, the physical strain of carrying that bump isn’t the only potential culprit. The hormone relaxin, released to prepare the body for the stress of labor, literally “relaxes” the ligaments holding your…