Pregnant with Gallstones

You read my health update and you’re curious… What exactly are gallstones? Well, according to WebMD, they’re pieces of solid material that form in the gallbladder, a small organ located under the liver. Your gallbladder stores bile that is produced by your liver.

The common misconception is that gallstones are the same as kidney stones. Nope. There isn’t a way to pass gallstones, unlike kidney stones. Getting rid of gallstones often means surgery, unfortunately. Which means… shortly after Lil Bean makes their entrance into the world, I’ll be scheduling my surgery for 2-3 months after. Womp womp.

So who gets gallstones? Well, like most health conditions, you’re more likely to have gallstones if they run in your family — which for me, they do. Both my mom and dad had gallbladder removal surgery (or cholecystectomy) several years ago. Additionally, you’re more likely to have gallstones if you’re:

  • obese
  • taking birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, or pregnant
  • diabetic
  • losing weight too quickly
  • fasting
  • a woman
  • older
  • Native American or Mexican American

If you’re wondering if you have gallstones (because like me, you’re a hypochondriac), symptoms usually include pain in your upper belly and upper back, nausea, vomiting, and other digestive problems, like bloating, indigestion, heartburn, and gas. You may recall in my last post that I had all the symptoms above at some point, within the past two years.

BUT — disclaimer here — make sure to visit your physician if you’re experience any of the symptoms above. Do not self-diagnose. Seriously!!! Do not start treating yourself without medical professional help. (Stop being a hypochondriac! ^__^)

Since I put my surgery on pause, and you now know gallstones can’t be passed like kidney stones, there are a few precautions I have to take to make sure I keep my gallbladder in the safe zone. One of the complications of having gallstones is inflammation and/or rupture of the gallbladder or bile ducts, if a gallstone is lodged in there. To minimize the likelihood of inflammation, I’m on a low-to-no fat diet with increased liquid intake. Basically lots and lots of water, fruits, salads (with low fat dressings), and very lean meats.

The diet wouldn’t be so bad, but I’m pregnant!!! I have to do a careful balancing act between eating enough, eating nutritionally, and eating low-fat. It hasn’t been easy, and with each pregnancy weigh-in I feel horrible knowing I’ve only gained a few pounds versus what is expected. Thankfully my OB/GYN, who knows about my gallbladder and works on the same floor as my primary care physician, hasn’t said a word about my weight which helps me worry less.

My diet unfortunately means no cake and ice cream in the middle of the night. No cheeseburgers from Five Guys. No dipping french fries in my chocolate shake (In-N-Out FTW). No fish and chips at the local pub. No gorging on pizza from 2Amy’s or Paradiso Pizzeria. Basically all my pregnancy cravings are shot down the instant they pop into my brain because my gallbladder quietly, but firmly says, “No way, lady.”

And thus, I sadly put the chocolate cake back down and leave Costco empty handed.

Every single time…
Without fail…
Because of gallstones…

Making me a…

‘Til the next time.
– E