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 esophagus.
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 is born.
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 doctor:
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Peter J. Kahrilas, MD - Gastroenterology|
|Last Revised||March 6, 2012|
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