When you find out you’re pregnant, your baby’s health becomes your number one concern. Everything you do is centered on protecting him or her, and you try gaining any knowledge you can about protecting your baby’s developmental needs. Your own health also becomes more important than it ever has before. Even if you’ve eaten unhealthy food your entire life, you’ll probably accept the challenge and begin eating healthy just to protect your own body to make the pregnancy as smooth as possible. You’ll begin taking vitamins, start exercising regularly, and drinking more water, all to keep your body in top condition. However, some health concerns might be completely out of your control during your pregnancy, and they could be serious.

Appendicitis, which is an inflammation of the appendix, is rather common in pregnancy. When it comes on during gestation, many women don’t even know they have it and blame the pain on the pregnancy. If left undiagnosed, even in people who are not pregnant, appendicitis is often fatal. Obviously for women who are pregnant, appendicitis could also threaten the life of the baby. The only way to cure it is to remove the organ with an appendectomy.

While such a procedure sounds extremely risky during pregnancy, it can be done, and recent studies show that laparoscopy is a safe way to do it. Laparoscopy is much less invasive than open surgeries, and it is performed by making smaller incisions in the body with the aid of a tiny camera. Until recently, such a procedure was considered unsafe to perform during pregnancy, but the results of a study show that it is just as safe as an open procedure. However, a laparoscopy cannot be performed very late in the pregnancy, because the uterus begins to block the view of the appendix. Visibility is vital to a laparoscopy, so an open surgery would have to be performed in that case.

No matter how well you take care of yourself during your pregnancy, getting appendicitis is out of your control. If you do contract appendicitis while you’re pregnant, immediate surgery is the only option, as a ruptured organ could easily be fatal. Luckily, laparoscopy is now a viable option for an appendectomy, which will make the procedure less invasive and will need less healing time. If you experience severe abdominal pain that differs from your usual sensations, contact your doctor right away.

Source: Michael G. Corneille et al: The Use Of Laparoscopic Surgery In Pregnancy: Evaluation Of Safety And Efficacy. The American Journal of Surgery Volume 200 Issue 3 pp. 363-376 September 2010

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