Most pregnant women have symptoms of
gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), especially
heartburn, at some point during pregnancy. These
symptoms may begin at any time during a pregnancy and often may become worse as
the pregnancy progresses. Heartburn is common during pregnancy, because hormones
cause the digestive system to slow down. The muscles that push food down the
esophagus also move more slowly during pregnancy. Also, as the uterus
grows, it pushes on the stomach and sometimes forces stomach acid up into the
Although these symptoms are common during pregnancy,
they rarely cause complications, such as inflammation of the esophagus
(esophagitis). Most of the time, symptoms of heartburn improve after the baby
Treatment for pregnant women with GERD is similar to
treatment for other people who have GERD, focusing first on lifestyle changes
and nonprescription medicines. You can make changes to your lifestyle to help
relieve your symptoms of GERD. Here are some things to try:
Along with making lifestyle changes and taking
nonprescription medicines, some doctors may recommend the prescription drug
sucralfate for treating GERD symptoms during pregnancy.
And although the following prescription and
nonprescription medicines are
generally safe during pregnancy, don't use them without first talking to your
March 6, 2012
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Peter J. Kahrilas, MD - Gastroenterology
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