Pregnancy and Gall Bladder Stones

Am I at risk for gallbladder disease?

Women are far more likely to develop gallbladder disease than men are. You’re more likely to develop gallbladder disease if you have a family history of the disease, are overweight (even if only moderately), have a high fat or high cholesterol diet or have diabetes.

Gall Bladder Stones & Pregnancy

Pregnancy hormones, particularly progesterone, cause muscular tissue throughout the body to relax, and this affects the gallbladder as well.

Pregnant women who already have gallstones run a higher risk that these stones will block the release of the bile.

The problem in detecting the beginning of gallbladder disease during pregnancy is that the symptoms may be confused with morning sickness.

However, if symptoms persist beyond the first trimester, or if you or your doctor suspects gallbladder-related problems, your doctor will likely recommend an ultrasound.

Of course, if you’ve had gallbladder problems before, let your doctor know so he can monitor you during pregnancy and prevent the disease from getting worse.

Will gallbladder disease affect my baby?

Deposits or stones have no direct effect on your baby.

However, your baby could be affected by the consequences of the disease.

For instance, if you develop an infection, inflammation, or nausea and vomiting, these conditions can hinder your ability to nourish yourself and pass along adequate nutrition to your developing baby.

How is gallbladder disease treated during pregnancy?

In general, the goal of treatment during pregnancy is to reduce the symptoms and complications, and then treat the disease itself after pregnancy.

The first step in treating an inflamed gallbladder is to change your diet and eat fewer fatty foods. This means that the gallbladder will have to work less.

If your doctor prescribes a drug for a gallbladder problem and it doesn’t provide adequate relief, he’ll evaluate the effects of the disease and the risks of surgery. Given the risks, any surgery during pregnancy is generally avoided. But if the inflammation is severe, if there’s an infection, or if the colic is acute, an operation may be necessary to prevent more serious complications.

If you need gallbladder surgery, it will probably be done laparoscopically. The gallbladder can then be removed without having to create a large incision. This means less pain and an easier recovery.

Dr. Kapil Kochhar
Senior Consultant
Department of General, Laparoscopic & Bariatric Surgery

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