Infant surgery and pregnancy – at first hand

In my previous post I summed up and answered the main concerns of those women who have had abdominal surgery in infancy or childhood and wonder how this will affect having a baby.

In this post I want to pass on some of the variety of actual experiences such people have actually had.

Many report a trouble free pregnancy

Hi.  Just wanted to let you know that I am 29.  I had PS as an infant and have a 4 in scar across the right side of my upper abdomen.  I just had a baby 5 months ago and gained 60 lbs with the pregnancy.  My stomach was stretched to the max and my scar is fine.  No problems but it did look a little funny when I was pregnant.  It looked higher up and longer then but now it is back to normal.  Good luck with starting a family.

K S – 2010

I have a huge abdominal scar from when I had surgery as a baby to correct an intestinal problem.  It is all the way across my stomach right above my belly button.  I had absolutely no complications at all during my pregnancy.  It is actually flatter now than it was before.  I asked the doctors tons of times whether it was going to pose a problem or not and they assured me it would be fine.

K. – 2009

I had ps and got a huge scar about 5 inches long.  I have 3 kids too.  I had my first daughter at 16 yrs old and no problems with the scar.  The second at 20 and I was huge but no problems with the scar… my son had ps.  The 3rd a girl at 25 and kinda huge and still no problem, but had a bad gall bladder and had surgery 6 days postpartum.  Not one dr was worried about my scar.  They did however think Ihad my gall bladder out until I told them it was ps.

B S – 2010

hi, I had pyloric stenosis when I was a baby and have a scar down my stomach.  I have two children, one who is now nineteen and had no problems during either of my pregnancies.  I have never had any pain or swelling with my scar.

J P – 2010

Yes, I have a scar from surgery from a car accident, removed spleen, appendix, gallbladder, and some intestine.  it goes from my lower chest to the bottom.  I had this when I was 16, I am 28 now and 2 children, and it is just a little wider than when I had surgery but it didn’t hurt or anything.  Mine did not go back, it stayed a little wide, but I scar really bad and have deep ugly stretch marks.  You look like you healed pretty good, so it might not be as bad as mine… guess it just depends on the person.

B. – 2009

Others reported itching and pain but never any danger for the baby

A ftm here at 32 weeks… I have a scar on the upper right hand side of my abdomen right over my ribs from a surgery when I was born (I had pyloric stenosis for anyone familiar); my incision was improperly done and healed funny with lots of scar tissue build up.  Now that my belly is getting bigger I am in so much pain!  It feels like my scar tissue is ripping and it is impossible to get comfy in bed or wear a bra now.  Any advice for relief?  Is this ok or could this be damaging?

The only response was a rub with oil.

J D – 2011

The only problem I’m having is with my scar across the upper right part of my abdomen.  I had pyloric stenosis when I was born and had surgery at just a few days old. … The scar tissue is not letting my skin stretch like the rest of my stomach, so it is pretty painful.  It hurts when touched and is swollen above the scar.  It hurts when I twist or sit up sometimes.  It is not causing any harm to the baby, it is just painful for me.  I will live though!  🙂 I am just happy it isn’t harmful to the baby!!!  All-in-all I am feeling very blessed to have had such an easy pregnancy so far.

E B – 2012

I had abdominal surgery when I was 2 months old and it did hurt a bit during pregnancy but nothing major.  The scar also got smaller/less visible and actually rubbed off in some places during the end of my pregnancy.

H B – 2009

I am 27 weeks pregnant and I have the same pain.  It feels as though the scar is somehow attached to my ribs and my growing belly is pulling on it.  It feels like something is slowly being ripped inside of me, some days it is a slight ache while others it is a throbbing/shooting pain on my side.  It seems to come later in the day, as if the pull of the weight of the baby is straining it somehow.  Also, some days it feels numb and tingly, but not in a good way.

I told my OB about it but she didn’t really seem to know anything nor did she seem to care to find out.  It just feels like something is not normal … – I wonder if the surgical practices 20 some years ago were outdated and now I’m feeling the effects of it?

D G – 2008

Also, my scar gives me problems all the time and until today, thought I was the only one…  Seeing all this [on the web] has really helped me out personally!  Pregnancy is a little tough on my scar – the pulling sensation and sharp pains suck to say the least but the little angel in the end makes it all just disappear!

And she added a week later –

Does anyone have any remedies i could try to help ease the pain?  I’m 27 weeks pregnant today and the pain seems to be a little worse every day and I’m wondering what I can do to be as comfortable as possible.  My scar just feels like it’s going to burst open…. The pulling, burning and stabbing pains are becoming unbearable and any advice is much appreciated!

M B – 2011


And some are worried most by the possibility they will pass their condition on

I am not so much nervous about labor as I am about being the best mother I can be and being the mother she needs.  I have a lot going through my mind right now.  My main concern is how horrible I will feel if she inherits pyloric stenosis from me.  Because of it I had to have surgery at 3 weeks old, it caused me to be so weak from not enough nutrients that I no longer had the energy to cry.  I am terrified of having to go through what my mom went through.  I keep trying to tell myself that she will be fine and everything will work out, but I am still scared…

J G – 2011

If you have had abdominal surgery and a pregnancy, you may have something helpful to add to these experiences.  Please share something of your story here or on one of the web forums: Facebook, Medhelp and Topix seem to be among the most used and read.

8 thoughts on “Infant surgery and pregnancy – at first hand

  1. wendy williams

    What terrific information! What a valuable service! How mad that one story made me – the OB who didn’t know much about the cause of her pain and “didn’t seem to care to find out.” Amazing neglect. Your post though is a place where mothers can find some relief and understanding.

  2. Fred Vanderbom Post author

    Thanks so much for your comment.
    Although it will be hard for many women to post a Comment here, I truly hope some will. The information here may be channeled via a non-doctor-man but it’s a valuable oversight of the questions many mums-to-be have. Of course there are several sites with information like this, but the more stories, the more valuable this resource here will be!

  3. Daisy

    I really found this information very helpful as I also suffer from a condition known as omphalocele which left a huge vertical scar in my stomach. I am 26 now and planning in the future of having children. Thank you all for sharing your stories it really gives me hopes that it is possible to have a safe pregnancy.

    1. Fred Vanderbom Post author

      Thank you for your comment, Daisy, and your encouragement to share our stories. There are several photos on the web of the large and often gnarled scars which the life-saving surgery for your condition leaves, much more disfiguring than the scars from PS surgery. And yes, although adhesions can be a problem, and pregnancy may be more uncomfortable with the scarring stretching, your baby should arrive safely and I trust well. Best wishes!

  4. Aubrey

    Thank you so much to I think the third poster on this topic. I am 27 and had a 19lb tumor removed from my abdomen at 24 and my scar healed open and then had to be reopened 9 months later for a revision. I have a indented vertical scar that is 12 inches and starts right below or where my breasts end and go a little past my belly button. It’s thick and it hurts already bc it is so much scar tissue and how it closed. I was told I could probably never carry a baby full term without excruciating pain and I always figured the baby could be in danger because of it not stretching but I have a little more hope now. Still going to get advice from a professional when I’m ready but I almost cried seeing the picture of the woman pregnant with a scar from emergency appendectomy. It looks just like mine but a little higher up. I just teared up. Thank you thank you so much for sharing.

    1. Fred Vanderbom Post author

      Thank you for your feedback, and please accept my apology for a slow reply: I have just returned from 11 weeks overseas.
      I run this blog not only because of the issues around infant pyloric stenosis. There are so many people like you, folk who have had other surgery in infancy or later in their lives and have consequences which many of us who have had an abdominal operation share.
      From everything I have read, in most cases it is possible and safe to have a healthy baby after abdominal surgery, though at some cost to the mother especially. Most would say that like childbirth, it’s worth the trouble and pain. You may need to find an obstetrician who can help and support you. Best wishes!

  5. Fabienne

    I found out I had cancer during my first pregnancy and had a tumour removed from my adrenal gland when my daughter was 2 weeks old (1 month premature by emergency gs c section) and then had 11 lymph nodes removed 7 months later. My scar runs from between my breasts (just below) to 2 inches above my belly button and around to the right of my body at my waist line out to the side in an L shape. I am 17 months post surgery and my scans are currently clear and my husband and I would like to try for another baby this year. I am terrified of the thought of the pain the stretching may cause. I have experienced so much pain in the last 2 years since my first op and am scared of how the pain will feel… so much so I’m questioning whether I can go ahead.
    I am going to seek obstetric advice as my consultant and surgeon for my condition say there should be no problem but they are not maternity specialists… These accounts have given me a bit of reassurance that it is not guaranteed to be horrendous and pain is just pain… Once it’s gone I can move forward with a new baby.

    1. Fred Vanderbom Post author

      Thanks for sharing some of your journey here, Fabienne. It must take quite some courage to have come to this decision but with your attitude and your husband’s support the pain hazard will as you say be more bearable, especially as you look forward to the prize. I honour and encourage you both in this. It’s indeed true that whatever the uncertainties of your current situation, the scar-related ones will be measured: I haven’t read even one report of this being a decisive hazard. Best wishes! You won’t regret it after the pregnancy becomes history.


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