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Is it rare to have a pheochromocytoma while pregnant?

Having a pheochromocytoma while being pregnant is rare. Making the diagnosis can be hard, since adrenaline, the hormone that helps control the fight or flight response and puts the body on high alert (also known as epinephrine), and blood pressure can be elevated in pregnancy anyway. Once a diagnosis is made, MRI is the imaging test of choice because it avoids radiation to the developing baby. When deciding on how to treat a pregnant woman with pheochromocytoma, in general doing what is best for the mother is best for the baby. At less than 24 weeks of pregnancy, medications are given to counteract the effects of adrenaline and then surgery (laparoscopic or open) is performed. After 24 weeks, surgery may be delayed and medications are used alone. Most physicians advise delivering the baby via C-section and either removing the pheochromocytoma at the same time or 4 to 6 weeks later. Obstetricians who specialize in high-risk pregnancies are a critical part of the management team.  

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.