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Sacral Nerve Stimulation During Pregnancy: Case Report and Review of the Literature

El-Khawand, Dominique MD; Montgomery, Owen C. MD; Wehbe, Salim A. MD; Whitmore, Kristene E. MD

Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery: March/April 2012 - Volume 18 - Issue 2 - p 127–129
doi: 10.1097/SPV.0b013e3182436ae9
Case Reports

Background The use of sacral nerve stimulation during pregnancy is not recommended because of the unknown effects on the offspring. There is a paucity of literature on the subject.

Case A 25-year-old woman who had a sacral nerve stimulator for severe interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome had 2 successful pregnancies. Against medical advice, she kept the stimulator activated for symptom control during the pregnancies. The first child was later diagnosed with chronic motor tic disorder, and the second had a pilonidal sinus at birth. Whether this outcome is related to the neurostimulator is unknown. The efficacy of sacral nerve stimulation decreased after each pregnancy.

Conclusion The safety of sacral nerve stimulation in pregnancy has not been well established. Until further research is done, we recommend that women of reproductive age with a sacral nerve stimulator be advised about contraception and that the device should be deactivated before or as soon as pregnancy is confirmed.

Sacral nerve stimulation (SNS) in pregnancy is not recommended because there is limited knowledge of the effects of SNS on pregnant women and their offspring. In an effort to contribute to that knowledge, we report a case of active SNS use during 2 pregnancies and the outcomes.

From the Pelvic and Sexual Health Institute, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA.

Reprints: Dominique El-Khawand, MD, The Pelvic and Sexual Health Institute, 207 N Broad St, 4th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107. E-mail:

No funds were used to support this project.

The authors declare that they have nothing to disclose.

© 2012 by Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins