Appendicitis in Pregnancy

Until recently, i had never heard of appendicitis in pregnancy! Fibroid in pregancy, i'm well aware of.....heck, i even nurtured one alongside my last pregnancy. Pica, pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure accompanied by protein in urine), backaches, swollen ankles, painful wrists....i am aware of all these occurences in pregnacy. But, appendicities????!

A friend just recently found out she was pregnant and so, when she started with the usual vomitting, we all chucked it up to early morning sickness. Her vomitting episodes were, however, unusually "violent"..... and energy-sapping and half the time, i would find her sagging on a chair like a rejected wet rag, tired and weepy. I would give her pep talks ( she always sounded so defeated), encourage her to speak to her body....generally trying to help her through this phase of her pregnancy. And then, this fateful day, she couldnt stand up from where she was seated and had to be rushed to the hospital.

Diagnosis: Appendicitis
I remembered my first reaction was "WHAT??!". How does one start managing appendicitis in a first trimester pregnancy? I also remember wondering "Why now?". I was anxious for her because i had no idea what would be the best way to manage the inflammation. Would the doctors operate? Should they operate? Would the surgery affect the baby? What happens to the wound when the stomach enlarges to accomodate the growing baby? All these questions bothered me, hours unending. So, i did a bit of findings put my fears to rest.

Appendicitis in pregnancy is a relatively common phenomenon....1 in every 1000 pregnancy. There's usually a delay in diagnosis because most of the complaints asociated with this inflammation (nausea, vomitting and abdminal pains) are typically blamed on the pregnancy. However, when discovered, operation is advised with both the attending gynaecologist and surgeon in agreement. Current believe is that it is better to surgically remove a normal appendix in suspected appendicities in pregnancy than to allow complications occur because of not operating. Prompt surgical procedure is key to saving the lives of both mother and child.

Where pregnancy is still at the early stage, progesterone can be given to preserve the pregnancy. There should, however, be minimal handling of the uterus during operation.

So, if you are pregnant and having symptoms that you suspect might be appendicitis, do visit you doctor and attempt to verify your suspicions. Once confirmed, having an operation to remove it would be the wise route to go....if that is what your doctor advises. If not, get a second opinion.

Aby, my prayers are with you. Get well soon......x

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