Losing Gallbladder After Baby: More Common Than You Think


What is a gallbladder? I would have asked this same question before having my daughter. I had heard of gallstones but did not know what the organ’s function was (helps you to digest fat) or what could go wrong with it. But I wish I did after needing to have mine removed after having my daughter.

You might be shocked to hear that around 10% of women actually suffer from gallstones during their pregnancy and those first few months after having their baby. Yet it’s never mentioned or talked about much. And for me, it wasn’t diagnosed until 7 months postpartum despite my first attack occurring at 36 weeks pregnant. Unfortunately, my gallbladder was full of the little gallstones and I had no choice than to have it removed just over a year after having my daughter.

A bit like the appendix, you can live without it and thankfully I have had a pain-free time of it since the evil thing was taken out two years ago.

The first time I had a gallbladder attack I woke up and thought I was having a heart attack. I woke my husband and told him I felt like I couldn’t breathe. My chest felt heavy and I had extreme pain in my back too. After being violently sick, my husband along with my parents took me to the hospital. After running several tests they ruled most things out and sent me on my way saying it was likely heartburn.

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Two weeks after having my daughter, it happened again. Chest pain, agony in my stomach, back pain and I was physically sick. It then happened again and again. I mentioned it at my six-week appointment and she said again it could be severe heartburn.

Over the next few weeks, I had repeat attacks. Some were over within an hour while others lasted through the night. With my husband on nights, I had to have my parents over to help with my baby while I lay on the bathroom floor in agony. I went to the doctors again and this time saw another doctor who said it could be due to having a new baby and holding the car seat!

I scoured the internet and saw a few posts from new mums talking about gallbladder disease. I brought it up to the doctor and I was dismissed. ‘Too young’, ‘too healthy’, 'it won’t be that'.

After going to the doctors again, I got put on tablets for acid reflux. I took these for several months and after initially thinking they were helping, the attacks started happening again. They were worse if I had fatty foods and I think stress made it worse too.

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After suffering over the Christmas period and into the new year, I saw another doctor who sent me for an endoscopy (awful). This came back clear and after going to the doctors again and mentioning again about gallbladder disease, they finally agreed to send me for an ultrasound.

Finally, it was proven that yes my gallbladder was filled with stones and after being referred to a consultant, it would have to be removed. My gut feeling was right. Thankfully the keyhole surgery went well, I was out later that day and the recovery only took just under two weeks. The attacks stopped and finally, I could eat again without throwing up. I had lost quite a bit of weight during that year.

I haven’t written this to scare you, but to make you aware so you don’t suffer in silence. It was an awful and frustrating time, especially while having a new baby. If any expectant or new mums are reading this and are getting symptoms such as chest, back, severe stomach pain and vomiting do push for an ultrasound. Your gut is right and you know your body the best at the end of the day.

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