Has your doctor recommended you a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) procedure during pregnancy? Are you wondering what the procedure means, and what condition could it indicate? If you can relate to either question, or are simply looking for more information on lumbar puncture during pregnancy, consider reading our post below.
What Is A Lumbar Puncture?
A lumbar puncture is a useful medical process that physicians use to analyze your cerebrospinal fluid, also popularly known as CSF, during pregnancy. The procedure is also widely popular as a spinal tap. The physician tucks in a special spinal needle into the lower section of your spine to take a specimen of your CSF. CSF is a colorless, clear fluid that surrounds your spinal cord and brain, and its analysis reveals any health concerns that relate to the brain, spine, and other areas of your nervous system (1).
Is It Safe To Perform Lumbar Puncture During Pregnancy?
Yes, it is safe to perform spinal tap during pregnancy. Spinal fluid remains unaffected by the length of gestation, active labor, and delivery. The medical procedure is safe to perform, and it doesn’t alter fluid appearance, cell count, opening pressure, and protein levels due to your pregnancy. An examination of spinal fluid outcome during pregnancy is similar to the outcomes of the examination of the fluid when you are not pregnant. The procedure does not pose any harm to the fetus (2).
Benefits Of Lumbar Puncture While Pregnant:
Usually, doctors recommend a lumbar puncture to determine the underlying cause of any health problems you may suffer during pregnancy. Here, we list some benefits of a spinal tap during pregnancy:
- Detects the cause of unexplained headaches in pregnant women.
- Detects the cause of unexplained seizures in pregnant women.
- Detects intracranial pressure in pregnancy.
- Detects altered levels of consciousness and focal neurological signs.
- Identifies harmful infection in your CSF or a lining in your brain.
- Detects subarachnoid hemorrhage that occurs when blood vessels underneath or within your brain ruptures.
- Evaluates health conditions, for instance, Guillain- Barré syndrome.
- Injects spinal anesthetic to operate on the lower half of your body without using a general anesthetic.
- Relieves pressure, raised intracranial pressure, build-up in your skull (3).
Performing Lumbar Puncture During Pregnancy:
Doctors perform lumbar punctures at hospitals, where medical assistance is available. Here, we list the basic outline of the procedure:
- You need to lie on one side and curl up in such a way that your knees are up and chin in. The position ensures curved spine and also separate the bones from your lower spine making it easy for the doctors to insert the needle.
- Doctors apply an antiseptic solution to the skin at the base of your spine and numb the area, where the needle is going to work, using a local anesthetic.
- The doctor then inserts a special spinal needle in between the bones on your spine at its base and into the spinal canal. Then needle penetrates your membrane containing CSF.
- Once the needle in the spinal canal in the correct position, CSF drips out. The doctor takes the samples of the fluid in sterile containers for testing.
- Once the spinal tap process is over, the doctor removes the needle and applies a small plaster (4).
Treatments To Follow Post Lumbar Puncture During Pregnancy:
If you suffer from irritation or headache post spinal tap, you can treat the discomfort with certain effective treatments. Post-lumbar puncture treatments include:
1. Have Ample Rest:
If you suffer from a headache or sore back, post spinal tap, relax. Rest mitigates the adverse effects of the procedure (5).
You can treat your headache and any other discomfort with certain medications. However, consult your doctor before you take any medications (6).
Did you undergo a lumbar puncture in pregnancy? How did it benefit you? Share your experience with us. Leave a comment below.
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