Gastroesophageal Reflux Symptoms During and After Pregnancy: A Longitudinal Study

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BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux symptoms (GERS) increases during pregnancy, but there are no longitudinal studies on western populations examining their incidence in each trimester. Our aim was to describe the natural history of GERS in pregnancy and to ascertain whether pregnancy might be associated with a higher risk of developing GERS 1 yr postpartum.METHODSPregnant women (<12 wk gestation) and age-matched controls were included. A telephone survey was conducted, covering pregnant women at 12, 24, and 36 wk of gestation and at 1 yr postpartum, using a validated questionnaire. Controls were interviewed at baseline and 21 months later.RESULTSData on 263 pregnant women were analyzed. Incidence of GERS was 25.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] 20.1–31.1%) in the first trimester, 24.3% (95% CI 18.1–30.6%) in the second, and 25.5% (95% CI 18.2–32.8%) in the third. Factors associated with developing GERS in the first trimester were South American origin (odds ratio [OR] 2.75, 95% CI 1.30–5.84) and prepregnancy occasional GERS (OR 3.00, 95% CI 1.35–6.66). Risk factors of GERS in the third trimester were cumulative weight gain during pregnancy (OR 1.18, 95% CI 1.04–1.32) and prepregnancy occasional GERS (OR 3.79, 95% CI 1.08–13.24). Incidence of frequent GERS at 1 yr postpartum was higher in pregnant versus control women (4.7%vs 1.3%, P < 0.05).CONCLUSIONS: Incidence of GERS is similar across the three trimesters of pregnancy. Accumulated weight gain during pregnancy is associated with a higher risk of GERS in the third trimester. Pregnancy might constitute a risk factor for developing GERS 1 yr postpartum.

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