Chiari Malformation Community
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Avatar universal

Pregnancy and Chiari?

I have recently been diagnosed with Chiari Type 1 at the age of 31.  I have all of the typical problems:  awful headaches and facial pain, vertigo, neck pain, foot and hand numbness, etc.  I had my son in May of 2010 before I knew that my symptoms weren't normal and became a daily battle.  My husband and I would love to have more children and I feel like that hope has been taken away from me because of this condition.  Have you or do you know of anyone who has had a healthy pregnancy while suffering with chiari?  
11 Responses
620923 tn?1452919248

  Hi and welcome to the Chiari forum.

With each pregnancy u run a risk of making ur symptoms worse....and it is highly suggested that u have a C-section to avoid the strain of natural childbirth.

I had one pregnancy and one natural childbirth b4 I knew I had chiari...I was in awful pain b4 and after and was in the hospital for 5 days due to a CSF leak.
There is a RN that wrote a book on Chiari and Pregnancy...her name is Diane M. Mueller Diane Mueller, ND, RN, C-FNP.

Dealing with chiari is difficult and then add children...I always wanted more, but wonder if I would have been able to handle it all.
Keep in mind the symptoms u already have...the more active u r, the more u can trigger ur symptoms...they also do cycle....and we can have periods where it is dormant and then times when we r in a flare.

Find  a true chiari specialist to see how ur chiari is affecting ur overall health and how a pregnancy would affect it.

  Here is a link to a list of the members Drs...the list is not meant as a referral...but a means to help u research drs......


Avatar universal
Have you had decompression surgery? Are you considered a good candidate for surgery by a NS well trained in Chiari?  While everyone is different and will have a different outcome, there is always the possibility that surgery will alleviate your pain and symptoms and make another pregnancy much easier. Of course, you need to make sure all your docs are working together and everything but many people come out of decompression surgery and are much better and have a much improved quality of life. That is not also the case but the statistics on surgery are certainly in your favor, especially if you don't have complicating factors and other conditions. Have you had a consult with a Chiari NS?

Avatar universal
Hi.  I just went to see a third specialist to decide who is going to do my decompression surgery.  The surgeon I saw sees both adults and a lot of children.  In that appointment he told me about 2 cases he personally knew of where the mothers, not knowing they had chiari, that did not make it through delivery because of the strain of pushing and how that impacted their brain.  I consider myself very blessed because I did not know I had chiari when I gave birth to my children 10 years ago and I could have been one of those cases.  I hate to cause you such concern but it is so important to talk with your NS and OB about a C section in order to help keep you safe and at the very least, not worsen your symptoms through the strain of pushing.  
Avatar universal
Thank you all for the information.  I'm still trying to come to terms with the lifestyle changes and trying to find a dr. who can offer me some options and more help.  I had an MRI in June but the radiologist didn't note Chiari or any abnormalities of the brain. The NL I was seeing didn't bother to look at the film then and started me on PT to help with herniated disc pain.  I've seen a new NS since then who actually looked at the film and told me I have ACM but isn't sure it's causing my problems.  I'm still looking for a Chiari NS who can help me learn more about my specific case.  
I had a c-section with my son bc he was a very large baby so thank God I didn't have to go through a natural birth.  The numbness/tingling in my feet and arms began about two months after delivery.  I'm going to see my OBGYN soon and plan to ask him more.
1664208 tn?1332786550
I had 3 children natural, i did not know I had chiari when i was pregnant. I had really hard labors. I never knew why my head would hurt so bad, I just thought it was from the pushing. It is said that your child can inherit chiari, Its a 15% chance i think, Correct me if im wrong. But my 6yr dd started having bad headaches & a mri confirmed she has chiari. Im not able to have more children. & to be honest im not sure i could even handle a preganacy again! good luck & talk to your obgyn.
Avatar universal
I'm not sure where you live, but the NS I was referring to in my last post is in California.  His name is Sam Ciricillo and he's in the Sutter network.  It might be worth seeing if you can send him your films and other info and get his take on your situation.  He has a different perspective than the other NS's I've seen because of his experience with being in the pediatric neurosurgery world as well as handling a lot of adult ACM cases.  Blessings to you!!
Avatar universal
Hi, what was wrong with your pregnancies that you dont want to handle it again.
I was diagnoses with chiari I after C-section of my now 1year old baby. I had terrible headaches and vomiting every now and then during pregnancy and was taken to hospital, but they did not do any research untill after the C-section.
Now I am planning to have a second child and would like to be more informed on outcomes, risks etc. No, I have not been to consultation to doctor, I know I should.
Avatar universal
What do you mean that mothers did not make it through the delivery - they had c-section or passed away?
2081753 tn?1334769285
I too have gotten so much worse after having my son 3 years ago. I have read that hormones can have a negative effect on chiari symptoms. Fortunelty, being unaware of why I felt so bad, opted for a c-section and now learning all this am very happy I did. Although one question I am still wondering about is why the two spinal blocks they gave me never worked period. My recent MRI in late 2011 showed a 3mm dilation inside the central canal of my spinal cord. I have wondered if maybe that is why, or even if the spinal blocks have to do with the dilation. Except the area it is in is where I do have very bad spasms, cramping, not sure how to explain the feeling, it isn't good though sometimes I'm down over an hour crying on the floor because I can't get the chronic pain to subside. So yes I too had symptoms worsen 10 fold after my little boy and would not want another for the fact it's hard enough for me with all the symptoms to even take care of the one I have now. Fortunately I am as stubborn as a bull so it would take a freight train to stop me but I'm smart enough not to subject myself or another human to the lack of ability to take care of another, I can't even clean my house without wing sick for three or more days after. Really awesome..... NOT... Hahaha!!! I hope you can get better though so you can fulfill your desire for more children. They are a gift from God, a blessing from Heaven above.
Avatar universal
Hi im new to chiari, have a mild variation which was initially diagnosed as bells palsy, then a stroke! Feeling alot more positive and after dropping everything i loved doing have started again. Symptoms are becoming better but still have 'absences' just want to send best wishes to everyone. X
620923 tn?1452919248

Hi and welcome to the Chiari forum.

May I ask what u mean by a mild variation?

And what testing u have had so far? What MRI's?

We are always happy to welcome someone new to the group, but also sorry u had to seek us out.
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