Can You Get a Colonoscopy While Pregnant?: What You Need to Know

Colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that requires careful consideration, especially during pregnancy. The well-being of both the mother and child must be prioritized for safety before proceeding with a colonoscopy. So, understanding the safety, risks, and appropriateness is crucial to deciding whether to undergo a colonoscopy during pregnancy. 

Is Colonoscopy safe during pregnancy?

Although colonoscopy offers several benefits and effectively diagnoses health issues, it is generally best avoided during pregnancy unless absolutely necessary. Beyond the procedural risks, colonoscopy involves anesthesia, which can impact fetal health, cause distress, and induce physiological changes in the mother.

Dr. Yuriy Israel of Gastroenterology and Nutrition, P.C. says, “It’s not recommended to get any procedures while pregnant, unless it’s a dire emergency, because it increases the risk of losing the baby, and anesthesia can make things worse. So, unless it is a life and death situation, we do not recommend getting a colonoscopy while pregnant.”

However, each patient may have unique concerns; consulting with a healthcare professional to weigh potential risks and benefits is essential before proceeding with the procedure during pregnancy.

In what situations might you need a colonoscopy during pregnancy?

Colonoscopy is not recommended during pregnancy. However, it may be reserved for special situations where the benefits outweigh the potential risks to both the mother and the fetus. Those situations may include:

  • Consistent gastrointestinal symptoms: If a pregnant individual experiences gastrointestinal symptoms like persistent rectal bleeding a colonoscopy, or, more likely, a flexible sigmoidoscopy, may be recommended to diagnose the underlying issue.
  • Maternal health concerns: If there are serious concerns about the mother’s health, such as suspected inflammatory bowel disease or colorectal cancer, a colonoscopy or a flexible sigmoidoscopy may be necessary to address the issue.
  • However, it should again be emphasized that a colonoscopy or a flexible sigmoidoscopy during pregnancy should only be done when the benefits of the procedure FAR outweigh any potential and real risks.

In each situation, the decision to proceed with a colonoscopy should be carefully consulted with a gastroenterologist.

What are the risks associated with colonoscopy during pregnancy?

Colonoscopy during pregnancy poses certain risks that need careful consideration by a professional gastroenterologist. Those risks include:

  • Harm to the fetus: The procedure involves inserting a flexible tube with a camera into the colon, which could potentially cause damage or distress to the fetus.
  • Anesthesia risks: Anesthesia or sedation used during the procedure may cross the placenta and affect the fetus. The risks with anesthesia administration increase during pregnancy.
  • Physiological complication: Pregnancy can cause physiological changes in the body, including changes in blood volume, hormone levels, and tissue elasticity. These changes may increase the risk of bleeding or perforation during the colonoscopy procedure.
  • Premature labor: Colonoscopy may also trigger premature labor or other pregnancy complications due to the stress of the procedure on the body.

Gastroenterology and Nutrition, P.C.: Path to gastrointestinal wellness

If you seek specialized gastrointestinal care during pregnancy, Gastroenterology and Nutrition, P.C. is ready to assist you. We have the best gastroenterologists with years of experience offering customized consultations and diagnostic procedures like colonoscopy for every individual. 

We focus on compassionate care with cutting-edge technology to prioritize your and your baby’s well-being. So, if you have any digestive concerns that need addressing, schedule an appointment today at 718-261-0900 for comprehensive and pregnancy-friendly care.

Disclaimer: This article only provides educational information and doesn’t substitute professional recommendations. Individual circumstances may vary, and the final decision should be made in consultation with a gastroenterologist regarding any medical procedures during pregnancy.


Visit Our Location


Sunday: 9:00AM - 2:00PM
Monday: 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Tuesday: 9:00AM - 4:00PM
Wednesday: 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Thursday: 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Friday: 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Location Map: 108-16 72nd Ave Forest Hills, NY 11375
aaaasf the gold standard in accreditation
2020 05 19
affiliations 3 1
affiliations 4 1

Accessibility Toolbar

Scroll to Top