Clinical Case Database / Category: Patient Management

Surgical Causes of Abdominal Pain in Pregnancy

Publication details

D Vinayagam MB, BS, BSc, MRCOG, MK Tipples MRCOG, FRCS
Foundation Years Journal, volume 8, issue 9, p.86 (123Doc Education, London, October 2014)


Abdominal pain in pregnancy is an extremely common complaint and one that as obstetricians and gynaecologists, we see and assess on a daily basis. The cause for pain may be related to the pregnancy or due to physiological changes caused by pregnancy, or the pregnancy maybe incidental. Non-obstetric causes of abdominal pain are equally as important albeit not as prevalent. In this article we provide a brief overview of surgical causes of abdominal pain, pitfalls in their management and a brief description of diagnostic imaging used in pregnancy. Three clinical cases are described to highlight the importance of considering non obstetric causes of abdominal pain. This article enables the reader to gain confidence in the management of abdominal pain in pregnancy, whilst keeping an open mind about its variety of potential causes.

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D Vinayagam MB, BS, BSc, MRCOG

Specialty Trainee in Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Dept. of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, St Richards Hospital
Spitalfield Lane, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 6SE


Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist
Dept. of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, St Richards Hospital
Spitalfield Lane, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 6SE


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2. Osei EK, Faulkner K. Fetal doses from radiological examinations. B J Radiol (1999) 72:733-780.
3. Eskandar OS, Eckford SD & Watkinson T. Safety of diagnostic imaging in pregnancy. Part 1: Xray, nuclear medicine investigations, computed tomography and contrast media. The Obstetrician and Gynaecologist (2010) 12:71-78
4. Eskandar OS, Eckford SD & Watkinson T. Safety of diagnostic imaging in pregnancy. Part 2: Magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound scanning and Doppler assessment. The Obstetrician and Gynaecologist (2010) 12:171-178


Conflict Of Interest

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About the Clinical Cases Database

T​he Foundation Years Clinical Cases Database is​ a selection of 600 peer-reviewed clinical cases in the field of patient safety and clinical practice, specifically focused on the clinical information needs of junior doctors, based around the Foundation Year Curriculum programme (MMC). The cases have been chosen to align with the Foundation Year Curriculum.

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