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My sore and severe sharp upper right rib pain experienced during second trimester of pregnancy was actually gallstones

Updated on November 16, 2011
What gallstones look like. They are mainly composed of hardened cholesterol.  Icky, huh?
What gallstones look like. They are mainly composed of hardened cholesterol. Icky, huh?

Today I had my regular monthly pre-natal check up with my obstetrician. Things were going smoothly until I began telling him about this sharp pain I had in my right upper ribs. (I wrote a hub on this previously.) The pain had subsided for about a week, but had come back yesterday morning with a vengeance. It was hurting so bad that my husband had to pull me out of bed, as it hurt too much to do it on my own.

I wasn't going to mention this to my doctor since my last doctor (I recently switched) told me that it was probably normal, the baby may be exerting pressure on my liver, pushing it into my ribcage and thereby hitting a nerve, that it would go away in time. When I mentioned this to my doctor today however, his jaw dropped and immediately began examining me, poking and prodding around where the pain was. I honestly wanted to punch him.

After examination and an emergency ultrasound, I have now discovered that I have gallstones, that most likely formed due to my pregnancy. Apparently pregnant women and those on hormone therapy, or birth control are susceptible because of the excess estrogen levels in the body. Estrogen can cause the cholesterol levels in the bile (a secretion produced in the liver) to rise. You've probably seen bile salts if you're pregnant... it's that stuff you started vomiting when you had nothing in your stomach, but still felt the urge to wrench your guts out. It was probably a yellow-ish or orange color.


For now the only treatment I can have is going on a low fat, high fiber diet. Sometimes (and hopefully in my case), gallstones will go away on their own after pregnancy.

Whether you are pregnant or not...If you experience sharp, or increasing pain in the upper right portion of your abdomen (especially after you eat a meal with a high fat content), pain between your shoulder blades, fever/chills, yellowing of your skin (also known as jaundice), or if your poo (pardon my french) seems to have a clay/grayish color, call your doctor immediately.


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    • pinktulipfairie profile image

      pinktulipfairie 6 years ago from Torrey Pines Beach

      So funny thing, I was sick my whole third pregnancy. No pains just couldn't hold anything down. I had to take cancer medicine to eliminate the excessive sickness. WHEN I took the hypo birthing class it helped but we still had no idea. About a week after we got home from the hospital I would get these pains on the right and under my rib and it hurt so bad I would have tears down my face. I still got sick including thanksgiving evening ended up in the hospital where they finally figured out my gall bladder had gone bad during the pregnancy.

    • profile image

      ardnaxela 6 years ago from United States Of America

      I also have experienced gallstones during both of my pregnancies, and was actually the whole reason how I found out I was pregnant with my now 3 year old daughter. They can be a real pain in the side, but hopefully they clear up when you have your baby. Don't get discouraged because of the pain, once you are on the high fiber low fat diet the pain goes away after a couple of days.

    • rayechan profile image

      rayechan 6 years ago from Missouri

      That sounds like something I've been fighting with since I hit 16 weeks of my pregnancy. The OB I was originally seeing said that it was nothing major and that my body will be expanding and that many of my organs will be pushed upwards from the pain. The midwife on the other hand who I got shuffled to after my OB left without warning said that it's only natural to feel uncomfortable during pregnancy and that it was simply just that.

      From what people have told me, from what I've read and what I'm feeling, I think it might be a good idea to switch to a new doctor. I don't like how many of them seem to generalize our symptoms and say "Oh, every pregnant woman feels like that so it's nothing bad.". Since I've gotten pregnant, I've had to go to the hospital 6 times due to dehydration (no matter how much I drink and such) and sharp lower abdominal pain and back pains and the hospital tells me that my doctor should be more concerned considering it could be something going wrong.

      Thank you for this article. ^.^