Can I Get a Urea Breath Test if I'm Pregnant?

  • Medical Author:
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

  • Medical Editor: Dennis Lee, MD
    Dennis Lee, MD

    Dennis Lee, MD

    Dr. Lee was born in Shanghai, China, and received his college and medical training in the United States. He is fluent in English and three Chinese dialects. He graduated with chemistry departmental honors from Harvey Mudd College. He was appointed president of AOA society at UCLA School of Medicine. He underwent internal medicine residency and gastroenterology fellowship training at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.

Ask the experts

Is there any contraindication in administering a Helicobacter pylori urea breath test to a pregnant women?

Doctor's response

There is no need to administer a urea breath test to a pregnant woman. The presence or absence of H. pylori can be determined accurately from a sample of stool. There are two types of urea breath tests for diagnosing H. pylori. One uses a very small dose of urea that is labelled with a radioactive isotope of carbon, and the other uses urea that is labelled with a non-radioactive isotope of carbon. The non-radioactive isotope has no adverse effects. The radioactive isotope is not recommended for use in pregnant women.

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Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care
REFERENCE:

"Indications and diagnostic tests for Helicobacter pylori infection"
UpToDate.com

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Last Editorial Review: 7/13/2017

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