GERD and Pregnancy

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How will pregnancy affect my GERD?

More than one-half of all pregnant women report symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux, or GERD, particularly during their third trimester. GERD occurs during pregnancy because your digestive system works more slowly due to changing hormone levels. Also, your enlarged uterus can crowd your stomach, pushing stomach acids upward.

If you were already experiencing symptoms of GERD before you became pregnant, you can expect the symptoms to intensify during pregnancy.

Here are some ways you can reduce your symptoms:

  • Eat several small meals each day instead of three large ones.

  • Eat slowly.

  • Drink warm liquids such as herbal tea.

  • Avoid fried, spicy or rich foods, or any foods that seem to increase GERD symptoms.

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  • Don't lie down directly after eating.

  • Keep the head of your bed higher than the foot of your bed. Or, place pillows under your shoulders to prevent stomach acids from rising into your chest.

  • Try heartburn relievers such as Tums, Maalox, Titralac, Mylanta, Riopan or Gaviscon.

If your heartburn persists, see your physician. He or she may prescribe medications that are safe to take during pregnancy.

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. For additional written health information, please contact the Health Information Center at the Cleveland Clinic (216) 444-3771 or toll-free (800) 223-2273 extension 43771 or visit www.clevelandclinic.org/health This document was last reviewed on: 11/15/2001

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