Is it safe to have a colonoscopy when pregnant?

Expert advice to guide you through having a colonoscopy in pregnancy

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In a nutshell

It’s safe – but fairly uncommon – to have a colonoscopy in pregnancy

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The expert view

Colonoscopy involves a video camera on a long, thin, flexible tube to look at your intestines.

It can be used to look for causes of weight loss, blood in your poo, iron deficiency, and to watch or treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), as well as to check for cancers.

A small study of mums-to-be from the US found that pregnant women having a colonoscopy actually had a slightly lower chance of miscarriage and premature delivery, while their babies had less risk of low birth weight and birth defects.

The scientists found that colonoscopy may be “relatively safe” during the second trimester, if it is necessary.

MFM’s GP Dr Philippa Kaye points out that “a colonoscopy is only performed for a good clinical reason”.

“However there is no evidence to suggest that it causes any problems during pregnancy,” she adds. “Appropriate pregnancy safe sedation will be given.”

She also explains that it is more common for pregnant women to be given ultrasounds, ECGs (electrocardiogram) or x-rays.

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Mums on our forum say

“I had food poisoning [when I conceived my daughter] I was hospitalised for 2 days the only time we had had sex was about a day before I went to hospital. I was having fluids pumped into me, I had a CT scan, an enema, a colonoscopy and still when I got out of hospital and went to my GP for a check up afterwards I was pregnant.” Libranaster

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