Appendicitis During Pregnancy

appendicitis during pregnancy
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An appendectomy is a surgery that is used to remove the appendix. It is usually not a planned surgery, but an emergency one, that is necessary after an inflammation of the appendix. Your appendix is tube-shaped and it lays attached to the large intestine. The location of it is in the lower right side of the abdomen. Up until today, it is not known what function it has. It is speculated that it helps the body recover from inflammation, infections, or diarrhea. As important as this function may be, after the removal of the appendix the body can continue to function normally.

Main Symptoms of Appendicitis

An inflammation of the appendix usually leads to an emergency surgery, because at the beginning of the inflammation, there are no symptoms at all. Also, once inflamed, the bacteria rapidly multiply, soon leading to pain around your belly button and down to the lower right area of the abdomen. Sometimes there is also vomiting present and diarrhea, combined with nausea. Walking and coughing make the pain feel worse and in some cases, it will not be possible for you to walk, as the pain will be so severe.

Upon feeling these symptoms, it is important to seek professional help right away. The appendix can burst and release bacteria and other harmful substances into the abdomen. This can even become life-threatening. It is important to remove the appendix before it bursts. The removal of the appendix goes without a complication in almost all cases and the healing period is also a short one.  

Other Symptoms of Appendicitis

It is important to know that appendicitis sometimes shows other symptoms as well, such as loss of appetite or low-grade fever. As mentioned before, the pain is typically in the lower right area of the abdomen. However, in pregnant women, the pain may be also felt in the upper right area of the abdomen. If you are pregnant and you feel this type of pain, combined with any other symptom, you should seek help immediately. The risk of getting appendicitis during pregnancy is high. It is one of the most common surgeries while pregnant.  

Pregnancy and Appendicitis

If you are in the first or second trimester, you will need to have a laparoscopy. It is known as a band-aid surgery, because it doesn´t use a large incision, as one performed when not pregnant, but it uses several small holes in your abdomen. This is done to cause as less distress to your fetus as possible. If you´re already in your third trimester, it is considered safe enough to perform an appendectomy via a large incision.

This is also necessary, as, at this point, your uterus will be too big for a laparoscopy to be performed. During the surgery and after, you will need to monitor your baby regularly. Women who get an appendectomy are more likely to have preterm contractions, but it won´t come to a preterm labor.

Recovery Period

If you are pregnant, the recovery period might be prolonged. This is because of the doctor´s need to make sure that your baby and you are both doing well. In normal cases, when there aren´t any complications, you will need to stay for at least one night. After release from the hospital, you will need to stay at home and rest. During the resting period, it will be important for you to move too. You should start with a few steps every now and then and continue to move around the house, as soon as your pain has eased and you feel able to.

Getting out of bed and walking around will fasten the healing period and you are less likely to experience complications. You shouldn´t lift any heavy objects at this time. You should be eating properly and in most cases, your doctor at the hospital will inform you of the nutritious food you will need to eat.

Complications

Complications can occur during pregnancy, as appendicitis is less likely to be diagnosed right away. Usually, it will take you longer to think that something isn´t right, as you will associate your abdomen pain to pain that is from time to time normally felt when pregnant. If left untreated the rates of the fetal loss and preterm labor increase, as much as up to 36 percent. This is more likely to happen if you get appendicitis during the third trimester.   

When pregnant, it is important to watch out for the symptom. Pregnant women are less likely to get a fever. The most common symptom will be the pain, in the lower right or upper right part of the abdomen. If you´re experiencing pain, it is best to visit your gynecologist and get an ultrasound. An ultrasound will be able to let your doctor know what´s going on. After the third trimester, it might not be as easy to detect appendicitis via an ultrasound, and in some cases, a CT scan might be necessary.

Prevention

There is no known way of preventing appendicitis. It is however believed, that people who eat foods high in fiber have a smaller chance of getting appendicitis. Foods that are high in fiber are different kinds of fruits and vegetables.  

If you are worried about the procedure, know that your doctor will inform you about everything that is important for you to know prior to the procedure. You will need to avoid eating and drinking before the procedure. You will need to discuss with your doctor about prescription drugs or any over-the-counter medications you have been taking. After the procedure, you will need a family member or friend to drive you home. The procedure may make you feel drowsy and unable to drive. A physical exam, blood tests, and imaging tests may also be required prior to the surgery. This is not as common though, as most cases are emergency-surgeries.

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