The impact of pregnancy on women with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: a scoping review

Jean Theroux*, Benjamin T. Brown, Rosemary Marchese, Michael Selby, Vicki Cope, Jeb McAviney, Amber Beynon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
67 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is the most common spinal deformity encountered in adolescents and larger curves are more prevalent in girls. For females with scoliosis, women's health issues are of particular concern, especially pregnancy. The aim of this review was to summarise the best available evidence to determine the influence of pregnancy on scoliosis-related outcomes in women with scoliosis and whether scoliosis affects maternal-health outcomes, differentiating between patients who have been managed conservatively and/or surgically.

Evidence acquistion: A search was conducted using CINAHL, Scopus, Cochrane Database, MEDLINE, and EMBASE from inception to May 2023 to identify relevant articles in any language. The scoping review followed the PRISMA-ScR guidelines. Studies were eligible if they included pregnant women (primiparous or multiparous) with a diagnosis of scoliosis of unknown aetiology. The results were summarized by outcomes, including pregnancy and scoliosis-related outcomes and type of management.

Evidence Synthesis: Our comprehensive search strategy identified 6872 articles, of which 50 articles were eligible for this review. Back pain appears to be more prevalent in this population during pregnancy and associated with the major curve and the decrease of lumbar lordosis. There have been reports of failed attempted spinal anaesthesia among patients with instrumented scoliosis correction and minor complications related to epidural anaesthesia at a higher rate compared to non-instrumented patients and healthy controls, however successful spinal analgesia can be achieved in patients with instrumented scoliosis correction. Overall, the caesarean section rate was similar in scoliosis patients compared to controls without scoliosis and to national averages. Curve progression occurs in some but not all patients during pregnancy, and this phenomenon occurs irrespective of the treatment received.

Conclusions: Higher-quality prospective longitudinal research is needed to understand the relationship between pregnancy and adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. Further, the patient's perspective, concerns and fears surrounding pregnancy with scoliosis are yet to be explored. Exploring the impact of pregnancy on women with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis would have clinically relevant outcomes and could help provide pertinent answers to patients and healthcare workers and help guide future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-521
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023
EventSpineweek 2023 - Melbourne Convention Centre, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 1 May 20235 May 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2023. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Adolescent
  • Caesarean section
  • Epidural anesthesia
  • Parturition
  • Pregnancy
  • Scoliosis


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