Princess Eugenie has been pretty open about her battle with scoliosis. It’s a condition where the spine twists and curves to one side, and can affect people of any age. The 31-year-old royal was diagnosed at age 12, when she was also required to undergo serious surgery to fix the curvature of her spine.
Two metal rods were inserted along her back and two 1.5-inch screws were fixed to her neck during the eight-hour procedure. From there, Eugenie was required to spend three days in intensive care, followed by a week on a ward, and six days in a wheelchair before she was able to walk again.
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WATCH: Princess Eugenie shares adorable video of baby August
The surgery has likely made life a lot easier as she now has a straight spine (albeit with a large scar that she often shows off), but the condition does mean that she may have faced a harder labour. It is believed that she had a C-section, as opposed to a vaginal birth, both of which typically involve an epidural for pain relief.
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This may not have been an option for Eugenie when she gave birth to her son August Philip Hawke Brooksbank, though. The location of the rods in her spine means that they may block the needle from being inserted into the lumbar spine, below the chest and above the sacrum, where it needs to go.
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Carrie Sirry, birth coach and midwife, and founder of The Birth Collective and Rising Mother explains: "Any back issues such as scoliosis may pose challenges with siting an epidural."
Princess Eugenie's scoliosis scar on her wedding day
Eugenie could have been offered other options for pain relief, instead. She may have had local anaesthetic (injected around the vaginal area, and not for the pain that comes with contractions in your abdomen), gas and air or opioid analgesics. Carrie adds that hypnobirthing, TENS machines and a birthing pool can also help.
Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank are parents to son August
Either way, Eugenie and her son August are both happy and healthy, and Eugenie continues to champion the scoliosis community.
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