Diverticulitis and Pregnancy PDF Print E-mail

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Although it is extremely rare, there have been cases of diverticulitis attacks during pregnancy. 

And with that said there is no direct link that diverticulosis or diverticulitis are a result of anything in particular related to pregnancy.  It is very important to stay on a high fiber diet during pregnancy, not only to keep regular, but because the high iron levels in prenatal vitamins are known to cause constipation.  
The two most relevant complications that are linked to diverticulosis are infection and bleeding:

Infection happens when feces can enter or block one or more diverticula pouches, which will cause built up pressure.  Once properly diagnosed the infection can generally be treated with antibiotics, by following the “during an attack diet”, and rest.

Bleeding will occur when the pressure of the infection will cause a perforation or rupture of the pouch allowing the infection and even bowel contents to spread outside of the colon and into the stomach area.  This will require surgery to repair the damaged colon and to drain the infected pus.

Because diverticulosis does not generally affect people under 40, when a pregnant woman has any signs of diverticulitis the diagnosis can be overlooked, or diagnosed as something else. 
The most common signs are:

  • lower-left abdominal pain
  • nausea
  • fever
  • constipation or diarrhea

With the chances of a repeat diverticulitis attack, doctors will generally recommend that those who have suffered a flare up in the past consider elective surgery to remove the damaged portion of the colon prior to getting pregnant.  This would help to prevent the likelihood of a diverticulitis attack during a pregnancy which is dangerous and could put mom and baby at risk because of the possible complications.


If you are entertaining the thought of having children and you do have diverticulosis we would strongly recommend you speak to your ob/gyn and your gastroenterologist to make this decision.

 
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