Surgery during pregnancy for gallbladder infections may be s
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Painful gallstones are common during pregnancy. Current guidelines recommend surgery for acute cholecystitis during pregnancy, but many patients and providers delay surgery.

The study examined the records of a national sample of 6,390 pregnant women admitted to a hospital with acute cholecystitis from the Nationwide Readmission Database. Despite national guidelines, only 38.2% of women had surgery to remove their gallbladders at the time they presented with cholecystitis during pregnancy.

Pregnant women with cholecystitis who did not undergo gallbladder surgery were three times more likely to have maternal-fetal complications relative to those who did have surgery. The maternal-fetal complications investigated included a combination of stillbirth, poor fetal growth, abortion, preterm delivery, C-section, obstetric bleeding, venous thromboembolism and intraamniotic infection. These differences were mostly driven by an increase in poor fetal growth, preterm delivery and C-section among those pregnant women who did not have gallbladder surgery.

"The data doesn't tell us exactly why these complications occurred, just that they were more common in women whose surgeries were delayed after accounting for differences between the groups," says researchers.

Women who did not have surgery during their pregnancy were also 61% more likely to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged, and 95% more likely to be readmitted with a maternal-fetal complication.