Pregnancy + gallstones
May 1, 2010 6:05 PM   Subscribe

Pregnant amd suffering gallstones... your experience with this?

Mrs. B is two weeks from her due date and has been experiencing bad chest pain for about a week. Doc was good at determining what the pain was NOT. Did not seem to care what it was. Told her to go home and take tylenol.

Subsequent research points to gallstones. They are apparently common late in pregnancy. The pain in her chest and back fits to a T. Cutting fat from the diet has seemed to help. My concern is that baby needs some fat in mom's diet. Has anyone in the hivemind been through a situation similar to this. What did you (or the Missus) eat in that time. What did your doc say about lack of fat/protien in diet. I know YANMD. Just want some advice until we can get to the doctor.
posted by Brodiggitty to Health & Fitness (6 answers total)
I have never been pregnant but have had gallstones. I didn't need emergency surgery but my doctor had me on a very low fat diet. I have to say that in the two months between diagnosis and surgery, I ate a ton of oatmeal, very low fat proteins, fruits and veggies and I didn't have one gallstone in the interim, yet, I don't think my diet was utterly devoid of fat either and would probably suit someone who was pregnant. To be honest, I just ate STRICTLY what the nutritionists sort of recommend.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:16 PM on May 1, 2010

Best answer: Well, my experience was akin to wanting to die. As far as diet goes, last 2 weeks (or three, or four) aren't going to make a huge amount of difference (at least, that's what my ob said when we found that I'd developed gestational diabetes late in pregnancy - any dietary changes were for my benefit because the fetus will get what it needs from what I've got stored). Particularly if she's eating reasonably well, just low fat. I ate normally, just lower in fat - so a piece or two of chocolate was fine, several chocolate biscuits was not. Small piece of lasagne with salad was fine, giant chunk was not. It didn't affect my protein intake at all though - I just chose lower fat sources. I was still taking a multivitamin so that aspect of things wasn't too worrying. So yeah, oatmeal was good (a lot of cereals were good actually), vegetables, soups, most pasta dishes and chicken. I even ate cheese now and again - just in small amounts.

The pain is actually a stone blocking the duct and having it being ongoing for so long would worry me - once it's inflamed/infected, you're looking at open surgery vs laparascopic and that's a huge deal with a newborn. I had mine removed at 3 months post-partum and had a few complications but in general things went fine. Even with laparascopic surgery you'll need help around the house but it is doable.
posted by geek anachronism at 7:30 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My wife had gallstone-like symptoms, and we went in for an ultrasound but it came back negative. Eliminating fat from her diet greatly improved things, but the pain wasn't all that severe, so we thought maybe it was some other kind of gall bladder thing. She was extremely sensitive to fats though--she'd be in pain half an hour after eating even a small piece of avocado. For some reason, she could eat as much flax seed oil as she wanted, and salmon. Maybe fats high in omega-3 are OK? She also ate a lot of low fat, high protein foods like beans, whole grains, etc. for protein.

I wouldn't worry too much about the baby--her body puts the baby first, so if it needs nutrients, it will take them from her body, which sucks for mom, but the baby is OK. But you've only got 2 weeks left. All the development is over, it's just weight gain at this point, so I wouldn't worry about it.
posted by AlsoMike at 7:52 PM on May 1, 2010

I had undiagnosed horrible gallstones and gallbladder related issues for about 11 years before finally getting it cut out this January. I had switched to a low fat mostly vegan diet, which really helped with the pain. I saw a nutritionist, and used a lot of beans and vegetables to balance my diet properly.
posted by Zophi at 8:12 PM on May 1, 2010

Gallstones are funny things in terms of triggers. In the month between diagnosis and surgery, I found I could eat all the olive oil and avocado and other plant-based oils I wanted, as long as I stayed far away from animal fat.
posted by desuetude at 8:23 PM on May 1, 2010

Best answer: IANYD, but I wouldn't worry, the average American has no concept of a low fat diet so what seems like low fat to you would probably be living large for the average world citizen, and the baby should be fine with that. There's not much you are going to change in these last 2 weeks, the baby is already about as big as it's going to be.
OT: I saw a mother feeding an infant a meal of potato chips, chocolate milk, and a plate of pancakes today. I fear for what our children are learning is a 'normal diet'.

Also, as one of the other posters pointed out, it's simple enough to get an ultrasound to confirm the presence of gallstones, but I don't see any reason why this couldn't be, for example, reflux, or gastritis, or something else. Your doctor probably is mainly concerned with what it's not - i.e. that it's not an emergency, and it can wait 2 weeks until the baby is born to do further testing and treatment which could be harmful to a baby were it to be done right away. Pregnancy also does exacerbate various conditions such as reflux, so it could be that delivery will be the cure... you can always hope.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:45 PM on May 1, 2010

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