19 answers

Gallbladder Issues While Pregnant

Hello Moms. I am 6 1/2 months pregnant with my second child and I am having what I believe are gallbladder issues. I am having an intense burning under my right rib. The pain is mild in the morning, and then increases throughout the day. With my first baby, I had the same gallbladder pain, except it was in my back under my ribs. Here's my question, I don't want to have surgery because the pain did go away after I had my first child. However, I don't want to live for another 3 months with intense burning pain everyday! Has anyone else had gallbladder pain during pregnancy? If so, did anything help it? The doctor says, "Avoid spicy foods," but it seems like it doesn't matter what I eat (from toast to Raisin Bran), it still acts up. Help!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I had the same problem with my third baby,the doctor put me on a non-fat diet. The pain went away,it was great.

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I dont know what could help, but I do know that with each pregnancy it will get worse. My mother had hers out after her 3rd baby...within weeks. Pregnancy sure takes its toll on out bodies sometimes! Try to stay away from fried foods...things that generally give heartburn: Caffeine, chocolate, refined sugars, fried food, spicy foods, etc... And try to eat more veggies. Veggies rarely give heartburn! Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I had my gall bladder removed at 25. My mother, at 30. Avoid fatty foods, and gassy foods. I dealt with the pain for over a year after my oldest was born. It started out on the right side, under the rib cage. Then it would move around to the back, follow my rib cage up between my shoulder blades. We tried EVERYTHING!!! Changing diet, Zantac, exercise, you name it. I had to have mine removed. I found out after the surgery that I had about 8 "stones" the size of plum pits. It's a same day surgery most places and recovery time is not difficult. I do not know about having this done while pregnant, but would suggest speaking to a surgeon. The pain will make taking care of a newborn VERY difficult. Best of luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful

If it really is gallbladder then you need to do more than avoid spicy foods. I've had gallbladder issues for 5 years now. Unfortunately all the westerm doctors know how to do with this problem is cut it out. I was told to have mine removed a number of times. I'm working with a naturopath now and for the first time in 4 years am out of pain. But spicy foods has so little to do with it. I watch my fat intake, since that is what causes it to get "heavy" and hurt. I also have removed refined sugar and flour from my diet. That has cleaned up my intenstines enough that the gallbladder doesn't have to work so hard. I would suggest that if you don't want sugery you consult a naturopath and get yourself on a good diet. I have been in the position that you are in many times of "it doesn't matter what I eat". I've found that that's not really whats going on. It's just that my gallbladdeer gets into a state of distress from reactive foods and then I really can't eat anything without pain. I've been pain free now for one month from eating well. Tip: Go to someone who really understand diet - not all naturopaths do. If you want me to suggest someone I will. Good luck and congratulations!

1 mom found this helpful

I had a gallbladder attack 3 months after giving birth and it was the worst pain I felt. I thought I was dying!!! no matter what position I was in the pain was overwhelming. I remember sweating and the pain. The pain lasted 15 mins or so. Needless to say I had it removed two weeks later as I didn't want that pain again!!!!
My mother had an attack with her third pregnancy and 36 yrs on has not had another. So get it checked out. But if it was a gallbladder attack you would truely have thought your were dying!!!

Hi S.,
First of all, congratulations on your pregnancy.
I work for a nutritionist and see alot of this.If you go to: www.xoomamiracle.com, there is a mineral sachet that you can use to aleviate the acid build up. It's a natural product and will not interfere with your pregnancy. Even newborns can use this in their bottles. You can also get some fresh pressed apple juice (Health Food store, or juice your own apples). If you drink the apple juice and water as your only beverage for a few days the "stones" should dissolve all on their own. Don't worry about calcium, there is plenty of calcium in the mineral pack and it's in a raw, organicd form so you can't get too much.
If you need any more help I would be happy to have to speak directly with the Nutritionist.
I've seen this 100 times, and each time-great results.
Good Luck
D. K

HI S.,
I had pain with my last daughter while I was pregnant. This was 18 years ago though. I avoided the foods that made it act up firstly. IT felt like I was having a heart attack though the pain was so intense! I was lucky though and it didn't happen to frequently. After I gave birth I had it taken out and it was the best thing I ever did. No more pain. I do believe they can take it out while you are pregnant and it won't hurt the baby. They only make 4 little incisions near your belly button. You should talk to a gastroentologist to make sure. I had a great one! Good LUck J.

for gall bladder take eat artichoke or take the capsules of artichokes and ginger and lipoacid. All three help dissolve the gall stones and calm down the queasiness and pain. what also helps is stay away from foods that have calcium in it and; dotn eat spicy and greasy foods. These are what brings on a gall stone. It alway happens when your pregnant too, for the hormones affect it. So when you get pregnant stay away from spicy and greasy foods; that would eliminate half the problems. What helps also is drinking acid drinks, like lemon juice, grapefruit juice and also cranberry juice, for the acid in them will corrode the gall stones. Pop acids also will melt the gall stones. Gal stones are made of a combination of fat and calcium that bind together. YOU DONT HAVE TO HAVE SURGERY TO get RID of gallstone, they go away if you just eat the right foods. But Drs can make mroe moeny if you have them cut out and have surgery! Shame on Drs who are so ignorant and selfish!!

Hello S.,
I had this problem with my pregnancy. It is very common in pregnancy. The pain was so intense I thought I would die. Even if I didn't eat the pain came(usually in the middle of the night). Dairy products made me vomit and fried and spicy foods intensified the pain. I ate antacids like candy. The pain was like a band that wrapped around from the front and went to my upper back. A week after I gave birth it was at it's worst. I work in the medical field and the OR Nurse who responded about the only way to fix the problem is to remove it is correct. An ultrasound may not show the stones and you can still have gallbladder symptoms. The gallbladder may not be functioning properly and another test is needed to prove that. You cannot have it done when pregnant because it involves radiation. There is nothing that will dissolve the stones. A diet can help with the symptoms but a fat free diet can cause sludge and other problems with the gallbladder. You need to see a Surgeon and see what your options are. He/She will be able to tell you if you need the surgery or not and when it should be done. Find a Surgeon that comes highly recommended. If your not comfortable with the first one then get another opinion. Good Luck!!

Hi S..
I have a 10 1/2 month old, and I had to have my gallbladder taken out 2 months after having given birth. The doc told me that due to pregnancy I developed stones in the gallbladder. I must have been in the hospital about 6 times for passing stones, and the pain is HORRIBLE! Try avoiding eating spicy and meat - stuff that takes time to digest. I recommend speaking to a surgeon. Lots of luck to you, and feel free to email me at ____@____.com if you have any questions.


Are you sure it's your gallbladder? I had the same intense pain for months while I was pregnant and convinced it was my gallbladder. When I told the doctor my symptoms, she too thought it was that. She had me go for a sonogram and much to my surprise it was not my gallbladder. All it ended up being was gas. My doctor told me to take Zantac and that helped.

You really need to avoid fatty foods because the bile is secreted by the gall bladder to digest the fats. It ends up secreting too much and similar to acid reflux, you wind up with bile reflux, resulting in the pain you describe (which I get as well). Bile is basic, while stomach acid is well, acidic. But both will give you the pain and or burning you describe (as far as I know). I find that if I eat a fatty meal, drinking a glass of something acidic like oj helps to counteract the basic nature of the bile. It's really just trial & error, but it seems to help.
I think that the below poster may be on to something and I will look into the naturopath route myself because I feel like I have exhausted my other options. Good luck!
Congrats on your pg too :-)

I had the same problem with my third baby,the doctor put me on a non-fat diet. The pain went away,it was great.

Hi S.,
I had gallbladder issues after I delivered my second child. I didn't want to have the surgery for about 3-4 months and I avoided any gallbladder attacks during that time by totally avoiding any fatty foods. I can't remember exactly what I ate, but if it had fat in it that I knew of, I didn't eat it. Good luck,

I also had that burning sensation however I thought it was just heartburn, toward the end of my pregnancy. I was having twins so I thought that so much had to be going on there that that was normal. Since I thought it was heartburn I would drink alittle milk and that seemed to help but the burning would come back. Five weeks after giving birth I had intense pain and ended up in the emergency room and had to have it removed. After, I found out how common it is for post partum women to have this issue even hours after they give birth to a few weeks later. Be careful and talk to your doctor. They say to avoid fatty foods but when I had the intense pain I was eating spinach and red beans and other healthy things. After you give birth you might still feel it. Good luck.

I am an operating room nurse and there are what we call the 4 "F's": female, fat, forty, and fertile. These all are known to be risk factors. If you do have gallbladder problems, nothing other than removing it will make it go away. And just because you hear of people having a ultrasound and the gallbladder looks "normal" just means there are no stones or sludge in there. The function of the actual gallbladder might not be working properly. You probably will get by okay but after the pregnancy you might just want to go and see a surgeon so you are not doing it as an emergency basis some day in the emergency room.

Spicy foods are not the cause of the pain!!! Too much fat intake is what causes gall bladder problems. Stay on a very low-fat diet. I tried not to consume anything with more than 10 grams of fat in one meal. I had no pain when I followed a strict low-fat diet. However, the pain you describe doesn't sound like my pain. My gall bladder pain was the worst pain I've ever felt in my life. It was practically unbearable. Worse than labor and childbirth. Get an ultrasound done, see if they find any stones.

are you sure it's gall bladder? did a doctor tell you that? i have very sharp pains in the same area (i'm 8.5 months along) and also had it with my son, both in the front and back in my lower rib cage area, and i think it's the expansion of the ribs allowing for more room for the baby. we may be experiencing different things... it makes sense that it would feel worse as the day goes on because sitting or being in one position for so long compresses everything. i have found that sleeping with a pillow under my ribcage and yoga really relieves some of the tension. hope that helps a bit. i am considering acupuncture for mine, but i;m kind of lazy about it so i haven't made the appointment!

hi S.. i'm in the healing profession, in your area. i know that the gall bladder is directly related to the liver. squeeze a lemon in the morning, in an 8 ounce glass of water.
DO NOT EAT ANY FRIED FOODS! in fact, the only oil, i repeat THE ONLY OIL, you use should be olive oil. your gall bladder is probably full of stones, hence the pain. make sure you have regular bowel movements. eat lots of fiber......good fruits and vegies.
eat bitter greens for both liver and gall bladder....meaning arugula, or watercress, or dandelion, or mustard greens. please avoid bad oils.. all of them are bad for you except olive oil. the best fruit is apple because of the malic acids which helps loosen the stones.
good luck and be in touch.

Hi S.
I am an acupuncturist and I would suggest you get an acupuncture treatment. It is safe during pregnancy and it may help relieve your discomfort.

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