Management of small bowel obstruction in the third trimester

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Publication Title

BMJ Case Rep


Small bowel obstruction (SBO) in pregnancy is exceedingly rare. Management of SBO in the third trimester may pose particular challenges, as clinicians must determine whether or not the delivery of the fetus is indicated. In this report, we review the case of a patient in her mid-20's with no prior surgical history who presented with nausea and vomiting at 34 weeks of gestation and was ultimately diagnosed with an SBO. Following expectant management during the initial 4 days of inpatient admission, the patient subsequently underwent an exploratory laparotomy at 35 weeks without concurrent delivery. She was monitored for the remainder of her pregnancy with non-stress tests to evaluate fetal status and eventually underwent induction of labour at 39 weeks, resulting in a successful vaginal delivery. Herein, we review the challenges related to the diagnosis and management of SBO in pregnancy, as well as the maternal-fetal outcomes in the setting of SBO in the third trimester.

Medical Subject Headings

Female; Humans; Pregnancy; Delivery, Obstetric; Fetus; Hospitalization; Inpatients; Intestinal Obstruction; Pregnancy Trimester, Third; Adult

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