Symptomatic gastro-oesophageal reflux in pregnancy: A prospective study among Singaporean women

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The present study was undertaken to estimate the prevalence and time course of reflux-type symptoms in Singaporean women and to determine if these symptoms were associated with nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. Consecutive pregnant women in the first trimester of pregnancy were recruited during attendance at an antenatal clinic in a Singapore teaching hospital. Each was interviewed, using a reliable questionnaire detailing demographic characteristics and symptoms, at four time points during the first, second and third trimesters of pregnancy and postpartum period. A total of 35 of 47 women originally enrolled (response rate 74%) completed the study. Heartburn alone, acid regurgitation alone and both heartburn and acid regurgitation were reported by 5.7, 17.1 and 17.1% of the subjects, respectively. Subjects who had these symptoms were more likely to suffer daily nausea and/or vomiting (78.6%) than those who did not (33.3%, P < 0.05). In the majority of subjects, heartburn and/or acid regurgitation began in the first trimester (78.6%) and disappeared during the second trimester (71.4%). Nausea alone and in combination with vomiting similarly came on in the first trimester (100%) and subsided by the second trimester (85.7%) in the majority of the subjects studied. The reported prevalence of heartburn and/or acid regurgitation among Western pregnant women were 48-96% and 62%, respectively. Our data, therefore, showed that reflux-type symptoms were less common in Singaporean pregnant women. Reflux-type symptoms were related to nausea and vomiting, both in frequency and time pattern of onset and disappearance of symptoms. The association suggested either a common mechanism or a cause and effect relationship.

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