Acute Pancreatitis Symptoms, Treatment and Reasons in Pregnant Women

Acute pancreatitis is usually caused by excess alcohol consumption or a disease of the gall bladder or the bile duct.

Acute pancreatitis symptoms

in pregnant women can be because of two reasons, viz. increased estrogen effect and blockage of the pancreas by gallstones.

At least 1 out of 3,333 pregnant women are known to pick up this syndrome and the symptoms are usually present throughout the pregnancy.

Acute Pancreatitis Symptoms in Pregnant Women:

As you can see, the incidence of acute pancreatitis in women is rare. But a pregnant woman who develops this disease can have the following symptoms-

  • mid epigastric pain, pain in the central abdomen due to the presence of gallstones
  • radiating pain in the left flank, usually towards the top
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • low temperatures and symptoms of fever
  • anorexia (an eating disorder)
  • pulmonary issues which can also lead to respiratory distress syndrome with the symptoms being jaundice, tenderness in the abdominal region, hypercalcemia (presence of excess calcium in the blood) and muscle rigidity.

It is very important to diagnose the underlying pancreatitis disease in women especially in the first trimester as a mis-diagnosis can cause death or result in fetal loss.

Reasons for the Disease:

The most common cause of the disease in pregnant women is the presence of gall stones which obstruct the pancreatic duct. This condition is known as


. Another very common reason is the hormonal imbalance of estrogen which can lead to high triglyceride (fat) levels. High triglyceride levels block oxygen from reaching the pancreas, thus causing pancreatitis.

Apart from the above two mentioned reasons, alcohol consumption during pregnancy, reaction to medications, and pancreatic duct trauma can also cause pancreatitis.


The treatment of this condition in pregnant women is similar to that in non-pregnant women.

  • Eating should be strictly avoided in order to rest the digestive tract which will also reduce the pain. Instead, fluids would be given intravenously.
  • If it is the gallbladder that is causing the problem, it needs to be removed, but only after the pregnancy. During this time, a stent is placed in the bile duct for temporary relief.
  • If it is the triglycerides that are causing the problem, then diet restrictions are necessary to help prevent further attacks.

If a pregnant woman has to exhibit any of the above mentioned

acute pancreatitis symptoms

, then it is important to diagnose the condition and take the necessary precautions. Though very rare, maternal death can be a certainty if the condition is misdiagnosed.

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