Heartburn is a common symptom in pregnancy affecting up to 80% of women in the third trimester. The reasons for the increase in symptoms in pregnancy are not well understood, but the effects of pregnancy hormones on the lower oesophageal sphincter and gastric clearance are thought to play a part. A range of interventions have been used to relieve symptoms including advice on diet and lifestyle, antacids, antihistamines, and proton pump inhibitors. The safety and effectiveness of these interventions to relieve heartburn in pregnancy have not been established.
To assess the effect of interventions to relieve heartburn in pregnancy.
We searched the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register (April 2008). We updated this search on 10 November 2012 and added the results to the awaiting classification section of the review.
We included randomised controlled trials evaluating interventions to relieve heartburn.
Data collection and analysis
We assessed eligibility for inclusion and extracted data independently.
Three studies were eligible for inclusion, together they included a total of 286 women. All three were placebo controlled trials, each examining a different medication to relieve heartburn (intramuscular prostigmine, an antacid preparation and an antacid plus ranitidine). All three produced positive findings in favour of the intervention groups. It was not possible to pool findings from studies to produce an overall treatment effect.
There was little information to draw conclusions on the overall effectiveness of interventions to relieve heartburn in pregnancy.
[Note: the two citations in the awaiting classification section of the review may alter the conclusions of the review once assessed.]