Upper and Lower Endoscopy for Gastrointestinal (GI) Bleeding in Pregnancy

  • Atoosa Rabiee
  • Baharak Moshiree


Each year, more than 12,000 US pregnant women are in need of upper endoscopy, and around 6000 have conditions that may require lower endoscopy for evaluation. Despite this large number of endoscopic procedures performed in the USA in pregnant women, research in this area is limited, and the safety of their performance needs further review. Of note, the spectrum of gastrointestinal disease in the pregnant patient is very similar to that in nonpregnant women, but common causes of gastrointestinal bleeding (GIB) in the acute setting may be different.

In general, gastroenterologists and obstetricians agree that endoscopic procedures during pregnancy should be performed with great caution and with weighing of risks and potential benefits given their risk of maternal hypoxemia and hypotension resulting in harm to the mother as well as fetal hypoxia and even fetal death. This risk involves both the procedure itself and the risk of the actual sedatives required during the various endoscopic procedures as we outline below. Other risks include but are not limited to intrauterine exposure of the fetus to radiation with risk of premature birth, malformations, mutations, and even intrauterine fetal death. Despite the risk of endoscopic procedures, however, there are instances where various endoscopic therapies and procedures are indicated, and these are discussed in the chapter and categorized by type of procedure performed by gastroenterologists.


Endoscopic gastroduodenoscopy Gastrointestinal bleeding Pregnancy Colonoscopy Flexible sigmoidoscopy 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Atoosa Rabiee
    • 1
  • Baharak Moshiree
    • 2
  1. 1.Washington DC VA Medical CenterWashington, DCUSA
  2. 2.Department of GastroenterologyCarolinas Healthcare SystemCharlotteUSA

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