Shunt and pregnancy

Patient

Q: My girlfriend and I are planning to get married soon. We eventually want to have children. My girlfriend has cystic fibrosis. When she was little she had a shunt put in from her brain on down. You can even feel it and see where it is attached to her side. My question is when we have children, will the shunt need to be removed? I want to make sure there won't be any complications because of it.

Doctor

A:   A shunt as you described is a passage way created from the brain to the stomach. The purpose of the shunt is to alleviate excessive fluid buildup that occurs in the ventricles of the brain and to prevent a rise in intra-cranial pressure.  The shunt itself should not prevent any attempts at pregnancy. You should however contact your cystic fibrosis specialist and discuss your goals and desires in terms of family planning.

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