Prevalence and risk factors for gastroesophageal reflux in pregnancy

Abstract

Background and aim

Prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux (GER) increases during pregnancy, due to several factors like decreased lower esophageal sphincter pressure, increased intra-abdominal pressure secondary to the enlarged gravid uterus and alteration in gastrointestinal transit. The present study aimed to determine the prevalence of GER in pregnancy in a southern State of the Indian subcontinent and determine the risk factors associated with it.

Methods

Consecutive pregnant females (n = 400) at various stages of pregnancy attending the antenatal clinic or admitted in the antenatal wards were enrolled. Patients with heartburn or regurgitation or both (n = 182) for at least a week were defined as cases, and controls were those without these symptoms (n = 218). Data on demographic variables and symptoms were analyzed using Pearson chi-square, Yates corrected chi-square and Fischer exact test and student independent t-test as appropriate; p < 0.05 was considered significant.

Results

Demographic characteristics between cases and controls were similar. The mean age of cases (23.68±3.37 years) was similar to that of controls (23.25±3.31 years). The overall prevalence of GER was 45.5% (182/400), 77 (19.3%) had heartburn (GER-HB), 54 (13.5%) had regurgitation (GER-R) and 51 (12.8%) had both (GER-HB + R). Age and gravida did not influence the frequency of symptoms. Symptoms were more frequent in the second (43.1%) and third trimester (54.1%) as compared to the first trimester (9.5%) in pregnant women with GER (p < 0.001). Atypical symptoms were uncommon. GER was common among non-vegetarians (p = 0.02) and frequent aerated beverage users (p = 0.001).

Conclusions

GER prevalence was high in pregnancy, often in second and third trimester. Non-vegetarianism and aerated beverages increased the risk of reflux in pregnancy.

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Acknowledgement

We thank Mr Vengatesan A, Lecturer in Statistics, Clinical Epidemiology Unit, Madras Medical College Hospital, Chennai, for statistical assistance.

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Correspondence to Pazhanivel Mohan.

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Ramu, B., Mohan, P., Rajasekaran, M.S. et al. Prevalence and risk factors for gastroesophageal reflux in pregnancy. Indian J Gastroenterol 30, 144–147 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12664-010-0067-3

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Keywords

  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Pregnancy