Pregnancy and gallstones
February 4, 2017 7:23 PM   Subscribe

I have gallstones but they don't bother me Should I take them out before I get pregnant?
posted by barexamfreak to Health & Fitness (10 answers total)
I would cause that's a difficult 9 month window in which they could start to bother you.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 7:40 PM on February 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

I had gallstones that did bother me and I didn't take them out until after my first pregnancy. It worked out 'cause oop max meant I didn't have to pay for the surgery. They also didn't bother me any more than normal during my pregnancy. If they really don't bother you and your doctor(s) aren't concerned, have them out when/if it works for you.
posted by pearshaped at 7:47 PM on February 4, 2017

I got gallstones while pregnant and it was so intensely painful I thought I'd broken a rib, and having to eat a "gall diet" while pregnant WHILE ALSO getting adequate fat for the baby is no kind of fun. (They can take it out WHILE you're pregnant and I know a couple women who had to have that done, but it's a little riskier so they prefer not to if they don't have to.) Unfortunately they haven't gone away (for some women who get them while pregnant, they do go away after pregnancy), and I've been putting off the surgery because I'll have to skip four days of breastfeeding, and the whole rigamarole of surgery + pumping (or weaning + surgery) is too much to deal with so I'm waiting until the baby's a year old. On the flip side I have gall pain RIGHT THIS MOMENT.

Anyway, I would definitely have gotten it out before pregnancy if I'd had that option or known it was going to be a problem.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:36 PM on February 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Take them out!

I had my gall bladder removed at 24. The attacks were unbearable, and could not be managed without meds or surgery. I got pregnant 7 years later. I don't know how I would have managed through a pregnancy.

I was motivated to do the surgery because my grandpa died at 59. He had gallstones, ignored an attack thinking it was gallstones and it was a heart attack. Don't wait. Seriously.
posted by fyrebelley at 10:38 PM on February 4, 2017 [1 favorite]

Imagine having a gall bladder attack - but you also need to breast feed. Do not recommend. Get it taken out. I was one of those unfortunate souls for whom it was contraindicated to have it removed during pregnancy. Trust me - if you want to be able to eat anything more than jello (and even that was questionable some days) evict it.
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 11:00 PM on February 4, 2017

I would get it taken out now.

Mine was not a problem during pregnancy, but it became a big, big problem after my baby was born, probably triggered (it often is) by the pregnancy. My first proper attack happened when my baby was just a few weeks old. I didn't want the operation with such a young baby, so I left it and had more attacks. Three, four hours of agonising pain each time - with a baby to look after.

Four months after giving birth, I had one so bad that I ended up in hospital overnight and scheduled the operation. They couldn't fit me in for a few weeks and for those few weeks it hurt (lower level, but still sore) every single day. Do not recommend.

Also, while the operation itself went very smoothly - straightforward keyhole surgery and I could breastfeed as soon as I came round from the op - it was still surgery and still not fun to recover from with a heavy, wriggling baby. I very much wish I'd got it taken out long before.
posted by Catseye at 12:21 AM on February 5, 2017 [1 favorite]

I had to get mine out when my kid was 2 months old and exclusively breastfed. It was awful.
posted by geek anachronism at 5:06 PM on February 5, 2017

I would. I had a niggling gall bladder for 10 years, which was initially misdiagnosed as reflux, so I just put up with the approximately annual attack. And then it got really bad, and I was in constant pain for the two weeks before my operation.
posted by kjs4 at 5:45 PM on February 5, 2017

I wouldn't wait until you had an attack. I did, and ended up in the ER with an 8 hour long attack. It was miserable, and I cannot even imagine enduring it while pregnant.
posted by BlueBear at 12:50 PM on February 6, 2017

My gall bladder crapped out when my son was 8 months old. (I was expecting it, there's a long family history of failing gall bladders after pregnancy.) The attacks were really hard to manage while taking care of a baby. Luckily, my son slept through the one that was 6 hours of me curled up in ball weeping and finally going to the ER. (I had an unmedicated birth. This was worse.)

Do you have family help? Because I couldn't drive for ten days, I couldn't lift anything more than 20lbs (I could lift my baby, but not my baby in his car seat), I needed help bathing him, and holding my baby to feed him or rock him pressed him right against my incisions. He also kicked me in them a bunch of times. And one memorable time, my husband was holding him and he reached over and poked me directly in the incision that as the most painful.

So, I would say if it needs to come out, better to have it out before there's a baby to care for. And you don't want it to fail during your pregnancy and have to eat that restricted diet while growing a baby. I could only eat gluten-free pretzels, canned pears, and plain chicken but I only had to do that for the two weeks I waited for the surgery.
posted by Aquifer at 1:35 PM on February 17, 2017

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