Appendicitis is an infection in the appendix, which is one of the most popular reasons for having surgery during pregnancy. There is an estimated 1 in every 1,500 people that need an appendectomy during their pregnancies.
Now, having appendicitis is really not a big deal, but the problem is that in most cases, when you are pregnancy, this condition goes unnoticed, leading to a delayed diagnosis. This is due to the physical changes in the pregnant woman’s body, which leads to difficulty in diagnosing the condition.
It is however not hard in the first and second trimesters, and the main reason why you should get an early diagnosis is that when it is delayed, it is likely to cause complications such as a perforation of the appendix. If this happens, the chances of fetal loss are very high. Here are some of the most important things to know about appendicitis, and what you can do if you get this condition while pregnant.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
The most common symptom of this condition is a pain in the lower right quadrant. This happens for both pregnant women and other people as well. Later on in the pregnancy, this pain is likely to occur higher up in the abdomen or in the upper right quadrant.
You are likely to have an ultrasound when your doctor suspects that appendicitis could be the reason for the pain. This is also good for determining what could have been wrong in the first and second trimesters.
Getting the Surgery while still Pregnant
If you get a diagnosis in the 1st or 2nd trimester, you will probably get a laparoscopic surgery which is what they call a “Band-Aid” surgery, and it is usually done by use of a few small holes on your abdomen instead of a large incision.
If you happen to be in the 3rd trimester however, you will have to get a large incision because of the uterus size that makes a laparoscopy difficult. In the surgery, after the 24th week, fetal monitoring shall help with the baby.
Pregnant women with an appendectomy, either open or laparoscopic are likely to have some preterm contraction, and only 10% of them get their babies early. The risk of appendicitis usually rises as the pregnancy progresses.
Recovering from the Surgery
For a non-pregnant person, an appendicitis surgery is not serious, and they are likely to go home pretty quickly after it, but when pregnant, going home and recovery is determined by the state of the baby. You will have to stay in the hospital for at least 24 hours before you can be released.
Recovery is extremely important due to the pregnancy and you shall need to be home from work around 1 week. If you happen to experience complication, you could be going through preterm labor, and resting is extremely important during this time.
Do not lift any heavy objects while recovering and ensure that you are eating nutritious meals all the time, and keep your doctor’s appointments all the time, so they can confirm that you are healing properly.
You shall typically have a follow-up meeting with the surgeon in around 1 or 2 weeks. The care given by the doctor, your midwife and surgeon is coordinated so you heal well.
Ensure to check with all of the doctors so you can confirm that they are all talking to each other about your care. Now, do not worry too much about your birth plans, as chances are that you will be fine under good and professional care from the team of doctors. All the best.