12 weeks pregnant and need to have gallbladder surgery, help me please!

Annette - posted on 04/26/2012 ( 12 moms have responded )

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I am 12 weeks pregnant with my 4th baby and the Dr just told me it looks like i need my gallbladder to be taken out. I have been so sick with this pregnancy and I just thought it was all the hormones. Dr felt around my upper rib cage and pushed down and I about jumped out at her. I go in for an ultra sound on the gallbladder April 27th. They said it will have to be out by next week or complications could arise on the baby's health. What should I do, I am so scared for my babies life :(

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Shannon - posted on 04/29/2012

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Hi Annette! I had the same issue with my gallbladder during my second pregnancy (first baby). I actually believe that my symptoms started before I conceived, but I was preoccupied by other health issues that I was dealing with. Once I became pregnant, the symptoms worsened. I went to the ER twice, once at 14 weeks and at 24 weeks. The radiologist found one stone at 14 weeks, but they were not concerned. At 24 weeks, things went downhill. I was sent from the ER to L&D because I was thought to be experiencing preterm labor, but it was actually my gallbladder again. I followed up with a surgeon who was a little bit more concerned. He tried to convince me to go ahead and let him remove it, but like you, I was so scared. So, we decided to try to hold off until 4-6 weeks post delivery. I didn't make it though! By 27 weeks, I was in agony. I had nausea, poor weight gain, stabbing back pain, etc. My OB and my surgeon called me into a conference call, in which I was told that they had gone ahead and scheduled the gallbladder removal for the next day! Even at almost 28 weeks gestation, the pros of having surgery greatly outweighed the cons. They feared that one of the gallstones would get stuck trying to pass through the bile duct and cause me to go into sepsis, requiring an early delivery of my daughter! Or that the pain and nausea would continue to make it hard for me to eat and gain weight, which would possibly have caused my daughter's growth to be restricted.

After an entire night of tears, I went on to the hospital. I was rushed into surgery so quickly that there wasn't even enough time for my husband to return home from a distant business trip! The surgery was performed lapriscopically (sp) without complications. I do have to warn you though: it was horribly painful! I wasn't able to receive pain meds right away, since they needed to make sure that my baby was okay first before drugging us. My surgeon even took pictures from inside to show me my healthy uterus! I spent one night in the high risk mother/baby unit and I did have a few hours of some worrisome contractions. Just as we discussed taking magnesium to hault preterm labor, the contractions stopped. I was told that the contractions were most likely caused by uterine irritability from the surgery. I did require pain meds every 4 hours around the clock for almost a week. Partly because I was 27-28 weeks pregnant and my daughter's crazy movements were constantly bumping into my 5 incisions!

Overall, the surgery was a HUGE success! I had no lasting effects. I returned to work a week later and continued my pregnancy until 39 weeks. I healed perfectly and was still able to have an uncomplicated vaginal delivery. My daughter was perfectly healthy with no effects from the surgery or the pain medication. I would totally suggest having your gallbladder removed if you are as sick as I was. So worth it! On a side note: my sister ALSO had her gallbladder removed when she was pregnant. She too suffered nausea, vommiting and horrible pain. She had hers removed at 14 weeks gestation. She recovered wonderfully as well and went on to have my niece at 40 weeks with no complications caused by the surgery.

Good luck to you! Please keep us posted and if you ever need to talk, I'm here!

12 Comments

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Anne - posted on 10/07/2012

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Annette, did u end up having the surgery? I'm currently 8 wks pregnant and just found out i have gull stones. My surgeon wants me to tough it out and wait but i honestly don't think i can :(

I also am considering the surgery. Especially after reading ur thread. I just don't know what time is safe to do so. I read the 2nd trimester is the safest?



Just realized u had it done. How do you feel since then and hows ur pregnancy going?

Annette - posted on 05/10/2012

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I did end up having my gallbladder taken out. I was hurting really bad and dropping weight in my pregnancy. Surgeon removed it and found over 30 stones in the gall and half of them were over half an inch in size. They said i was a ticking time bomb and lucky nothing else happened. I am in lots of pain right now, but the bright side is I can EAT!

Annette - posted on 04/29/2012

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I am just over 12 weeks now. I have not gotten my ultra sound results yet to see how bad it is. But i keep getting bad headaches and nausea 24/7 and its worse at night. Sharp pains just below my sternum almost as if it was heart burn. I get pains in my upper back area off and on and it hurts all the time. Im just tired of feeling like this and I just dont want my baby harmed. See my problem is I DO go into preterm labor right around 22 weeks. My last 2 pregnancies were like that so I am already considered a high risk pregnancy. I apparently had symtomes of this before I was pregnant was well. I could not walk last week of Jan into Feb. I was in so much pain and I was crying all the time. I went to a DR and he said oh well you have a muscle problem that can extend throughtout your body. You have 4 ribs out of place in your upper right side I need to pop them back in. OMG i swear I hurt more after he put them back in then before hand. That right there was a HUGE sign and the DR misdignosed me it looks like. Ugh

Rebecca - posted on 04/29/2012

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When I was 5 months pregnant I had severe pain in my stomach (this was my second pregnancy). I didn't know what it was, I thought maybe I was having a miscarriage. Went to the ER and found out it was my gallbladder. They tried to see if the stones would pass on there own if not I would have to have it removed. Turned out I had to have it removed. I was terrified for the safety of my baby. Everything went fine though. They woke me up after surgery before giving me any medicine to make sure the baby was doing fine (didn't like that, a lot of pain). My baby was healthy and was born 4 months later. The doctors only did the surgery because my gallbladder was so swollen they were afraid of it bursting (which as the same affect has if your appendix burst). So yes the surgery is serious but the doctors will work with you and always have both of your safety in mind! I hope this is helpful.

Lori - posted on 04/29/2012

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I found out at about 5-6 months pregnant with my 1st that I had gall stones (I had preeclampsia too). I thought it was morning sickness. I guess I was lucky though. All of my stones were either really small (no chance of getting stuck when those came out) and I had 3 that were the size of worn down dice (they were to big to leave the gall bladder). My doctor suggested that six weeks after my baby was born to have surgery. The surgeon though said that if it wasn't bothering me after the baby was born that there was no need to have it removed. My OB tended to over-react a bit though, about everything. I think that he was big into scare tactics to get his point across. I did end up having my gall bladder removed about 4 months after I delivered.

If the doctor wants to do the surgery it may really be needed. I would get a second opinion though. You need the peace of mind and one doctor talking about operating while you are pregnant does nothing to calm your nerves. Don't worry about the surgery though. Unless it is infected all they do is make 4 incisions in the abdomen and should require about 6 stitches total. Women go through all kinds of things while pregnant and surgery is no exception. As long as the doctors know what they are doing, which they usually do, there will be nothing to worry about. Good luck. Everything will be fine.

Kelina - posted on 04/28/2012

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I know it's scary the thing is unfortunately there's nothing any of us can say to take the scary out of it. The only thing you can take solace in is the fact that it's absolutely necessary or they wouldn't be doing it. and it's ok to be scared. I'd be scared shitless if they told me I had to have surgery while pregnant. So be scared. Cry. Hold onto someone for support-but maybe not a stranger, they might look at you weird :) And try to take heart that all of us who have responded to you or have read your post are here to support you in whatever way we can be it through prayer or sending warm fuzzy thoughts your way until we hear from you after the surgery.

Kelina - posted on 04/28/2012

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a friend of mine just had her appendix out at 19 weeks. If they're recommending surgery while you're pregnant you can bet the benefits outweigh the risks. It should be perfectly fine.

Happy - posted on 04/28/2012

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I recently had my gall bladder removed at week 19 of pregnancy. I am a high risk pregnancy and everything was great. The risk of leaving the gall bladder in and possibly causing an infection, and truly risking my life and my babies, was greater than the minimal risk to the exposure to the anesthetic, which is the only risk during the second trimester. My OB said the only time she would give the green light to have the surgery was b/w 13 weeks and 20 weeks. After 13 weeks to get past the initial growth phase and before 20 weeks when the utrus is still low in the pelvis and there is no risk of harm the uterus.

If you leave it in the pain can cause preterm labor and if it gets infected your baby could be seriously effected by the infection and the antibiotic and you would need emergency surgery and if you are over 24 weeks then they will deliver baby first. These are things you do NOT want to happen.

Chelsea - posted on 04/28/2012

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hi annette i had my gallbladder out after having stones for four years i wasnt pregnant tho unless you have an infection on top of the stones then im not really sure why the rush toget it out while your pregnant and trust me know how painful they are as well as the constant vomiting and not being able to breathe properly because the pains so servere so i sympathise with u but i think having the surgery would be more risky to your baby then the stones and im saying stones because when they pushed on my upper abdomen i almost punched the dr lol so it sounds like what you have i would speak tothe surgen have all the tests done and unless its absolutly vital to have your gallbladder out now i would wait till after your baby is born best of luck

Katie - posted on 04/26/2012

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That stinks!! I know that must be rough.If it is so bad that they think it needs to come out by next week it is probably more risky not to have it removed. I don't think most Dr's would encourage you to have it removed if you REALLY didn't need it. The reason I say that is cause a good friend of mine started having gallbladder problems while she was pregnant and it wasn't severe so they let her wait. I would also talk to your OB about it. They could probably ease your mind a little more. Most of all you know your own body so just try to get advice from the Dr's and use your best educated judgement! Good Luck!!!

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