Background: Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) symptoms are common in pregnancy. It often manifests for the first time in pregnancy during the first three months and ceases after delivery.
Aim: To study the prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux in each of the three trimesters by follow-up of pregnant women. To examine the association between dietary factors and GER in pregnancy
Methods: This was a prospective hospital-based study. Sixty four pregnant women in their first trimester attending an antenatal clinic were interviewed for symptoms of GER and for dietary details and followed up until term and delivery.
Results: Fifty women (83.4%) experienced either heartburn or regurgitation during pregnancy. GER was commoner in primi-gravida (69.3%) and 50% remained symptomatic until term. Regurgitation was more common than heartburn and was often associated with nausea / vomiting. Women with an antenatal history of GERD had 3.79 times the odds of developing symptoms in the third trimester. There was no difference in weight gain in those with and without GER. Spicy food significantly increased the risk of heartburn and green vegetables were protective.
Conclusions: The incidence of GERD decreased over three trimesters. Weight gain did not increase the prevalence of GERD. Spicy food aggravated while green vegetables protected against GERD.