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Gallstones in pregnancy

David C Brooks, MD
Section Editors
Stanley W Ashley, MD
Susan M Ramin, MD
Deputy Editors
Wenliang Chen, MD, PhD
Vanessa A Barss, MD, FACOG


Gallstones are more common during pregnancy due to decreased gallbladder motility and increased cholesterol saturation of bile. In pregnant women with biliary colic, supportive care will lead to resolution of symptoms in most cases, but the symptoms frequently recur later in pregnancy. Some pregnant women will require an invasive procedure because of repeated attacks of biliary colic or because of complicated gallstone disease: acute cholecystitis, choledocholithiasis, cholangitis, or gallstone pancreatitis. After acute appendicitis, acute cholecystitis is the second most common non-obstetrical indication for surgery in pregnant women, as shown in the table (table 1).

Issues related primarily to gallstones in pregnant women will be reviewed here. Detailed discussions on biliary disease in the nonpregnant population, which may also apply to pregnant women, are available separately.

(See "Epidemiology of and risk factors for gallstones".)

(See "Approach to the patient with incidental gallstones".)

(See "Uncomplicated gallstone disease in adults".)


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Aug 4, 2014.
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