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The Possible Complications Michelle Duggar and Baby #19 Might Have Gone Through

Dec 14th 2009
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A few days ago, on Dec 9, 2009, reports came in of Michelle Duggar being hospitalized for treatment of complications from gall stones while pregnant with her 19th child. Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar, the stars of “18 Kids and Counting,” announced later that Michelle is doing better and that it was fortunate that her situation did not warrant surgery.

Not long after, it was reported that Duggar Baby #19 arrived earlier than expected. Josie Brooklyn arrived Thursday, Dec 10, 2009. She was born prematurely(expected date of delivery was March 18, 2010). This is not surprising, given that gall bladder condition and the fact that time between Michelle’s pregnancies are rather short.


How did this happen to her while pregnant?

The high level of hormones (estrogen) during pregnancy cause the bile to be much thicker, thus increasing the tendency of gallstones to form. In addition, other hormones (progesterone) inhibit the gallbladder’s normal ability to contract, further increasing the likelihood of stone formation.

Now the pain she felt may have stemmed from a gallstone lodging into one of the ducts emerging fromt he gall bladder. This can lead to pain and possible infection. There are further risks, of course, when surgery is contemplated – and that includes bleeding and rupture.


I can’t help but admire Michelle’s courage (to put it mildly) to go through 19 pregnancies. Michelle is in OB-Gyne terms a huge multiparous woman, or that having ten or more deliveries. And it doesn’t take a doctor to know that the more pregnancies you have, the more you are at risk for a number of complications.

Let’s enumerate. According to Maymon (1998), the rate of peripartum complications were higher in huge multiparous women than in grand multiparous women (6-9 deliveries). These include:

  • malpresentation
  • massive hemorrhage
  • and dysfunctional labor

Huge multiparous women also had a higher rate of the following complications than grand multiparous women:

  • cesarean section
  • chronic hypertension
  • severe pregnancy induced hypertension
  • diabetes class A
  • diabetes class B-R
  • congenital anomalies, and
  • large for gestational age infant


After reading though how she raised 18 kids, I find it remarkable she was even able to raise them right. She believes God will determine the number of children she will have. But I think God will understand if they have to make a conscious effort not to have any more children. She is, after all, given the right by God over her body. And I believe God will understand that she also has to consider the risks she puts herself and her baby through. And now that Baby Josie was born prematurely, she is susceptible to a number of other complications like respiratory or neurologic disorders or even infection.

So Michelle and Jim Bob, for Michelle and any future baby’s sake, please stop now.

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