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A 31-year-old female asked:

is general anesthesia harmful to a 7 week old fetus?

6 doctor answers9 doctors weighed in
Dr. Scott Harwood
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery 45 years experience
It can be: I would suggest avoiding any type of general anesthesia during pregnancy.
Dr. Orrin Ailloni-Charas
Anesthesiology 29 years experience
It can be,: As can some surgeries. It is best to avoid all non-essential procedures until after delivery.
Dr. Edwin Perez
Anesthesiology 19 years experience
Anesthesia: Yes, it can be. Generally try to avoid it if possible.
Dr. Joey Bluhm
Dr. Joey Bluhm commented
General Surgery 17 years experience
I agree with the above answer. But will add this... certain disease processes can harm a 7 wk old fetus as well, so you and your surgeon really have to weigh the risks and benefits of the operation.
Dec 6, 2012
Dr. Jason Burke
Dr. Jason Burke commented
Anesthesiology 25 years experience
I would have to disagree. General anesthesia has never been shown to produce birth defects. The surgery might cause pre-term labor, especially if it is in the abdomen. I would not use nitrous oxide because it impairs nitrous oxide synthesis. One option would be to use propofol and narcotics only, along with a reasonable level of oxygen (less than 40%.) If you can delay surgery, by all means delay until after the first trimester or delivery. But, a ruptured gallbladder has serious problems for the pregnancy as well.
Dec 6, 2012
Dr. Joey Bluhm
General Surgery 17 years experience
Yes: Generally should be avoided except in emergent situations.
Dr. Boris Aronzon
Anesthesiology 24 years experience
Risks: Yes. Surgical benefits should outweigh associated surgical and anesthesia risks. Risks are multifactorial: from immune system suppression and hypoxia to infection and unpredictable complications. Discuss the details with surgeon and anesthesiologist.
Dr. Richard Pollard
Anesthesiology 30 years experience
Variable: There are medications that we prefer not to use on the pregnant patient at this stage of development. Talk to your anesthesiologist about your concerns before the operation.

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Last updated Apr 24, 2015
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