Appendicitis in pregnancy – Charlotte’s story

Charlotte 1

Charlotte went into hospital at 31 weeks with severe tummy pain in her right-hand side, which turned out to be appendicitis. In her story, Charlotte shares more details about the surgery she had before she gave birth to her baby girl Matilda.

I went into Warwick Hospital with severe right-hand side tummy pain at 31 weeks, to a point where I could hardly walk – it felt like intense trapped wind. The doctors thought it could be appendicitis, so booked me in for an ultrasound scan, but my baby was in the way and the results came back inconclusive.

I stayed in hospital to be monitored and received a course of IV antibiotics. After a few days, my blood test results showed that my infection markers had dropped significantly and I felt better, so I was sent home on oral antibiotics.

However, a few days later the pain started to ramp up again and I couldn’t eat or walk properly, so I went straight back to A&E. Several doctors and surgeons came in to see me in A&E before a surgeon named Julia said she was 90% sure that appendicitis was causing my pain and that we needed to go to theatre immediately.

We didn’t want to go into theatre not knowing exactly what was wrong, especially being pregnant but she convinced us this was the right thing to do and to not wait any longer. I had to sign all sorts of paperwork in what felt like a huge rush to get me into theatre and was so scared that I was being put to sleep with no idea what would happen - whether I’d wake up with our baby still inside and if we would both be okay.

Lo and behold, Julia was right - my appendix had ruptured and she managed to remove it via keyhole surgery with three incisions. Medical professionals were on standby in case they needed to intervene, but our baby was fine during the operation. We couldn’t thank Julia enough for convincing me at such a scary time to go into theatre as it pains me to think what would’ve happened to Matilda and me if we waited any longer.

I was discharged from hospital six days after surgery and told that the chance of pre-term labour was really high after surgery due to infections caused by the appendix rupturing.

Little Matilda held on for two weeks after the surgery and decided to arrive at 34+1 on Monday 6 March 2023 via natural delivery, weighing 4lbs 3oz. She was on IV antibiotics in the fear she picked up an infection from my appendix rupturing but luckily the tests came back clear.


Matilda spent two weeks in Warwick Hospital’s SCBU. The team took really good care of us both and I can’t thank them enough for everything. I want to give a special thank you to the midwife who delivered Matilda, Katherine (Katie).

I was petrified going into labour so early and she did her utmost to keep me calm and made everything more positive in a scary situation. The midwife in charge was also incredibly supportive and helped deliver Matilda too - they made a great team.

I’d also like to give Sonia in SCBU a massive thank you. She was amazing with Matilda and really supportive also.

I know appendicitis is rare in pregnancy but it’s good to raise awareness. My advice for any parents in SCBU would be first to not dwell on the situation you’re in - your baby needs extra care before they can go out into the world. Don’t count how many days or weeks your baby has been in, they’ll come home when they’re ready.

Don’t compare yourself to other new mums - embrace that you’re still new parents. Pass the time doing things like skin-to-skin if you can and take in those first special moments (we still took plenty of photos).

Make friends and chat with the other parents - it’s good to talk to others in the same position as you. We’re still in touch with a lovely couple who had twins in Warwick SCBU too.

Take advice from the NCOT service. Kate under the Warwickshire team was so friendly, lovely to deal with and very supportive.

Listen and follow advice from the specialists, and chat with your partner/spouse, family and friends about how you’re feeling. I went to pregnancy yoga classes throughout my pregnancy, antenatal classes and a baby first aid class too which all helped keep my worries and anxieties at bay.

In regard to coping with appendicitis during pregnancy, my main advice is whatever pain you’re in, and if you think something is not quite right, call triage or go straight to A&E, especially if you are in excruciating pain on the right-hand side of your tummy.

Charlotte 2