Many disorders of the gastrointestinal tract are common in pregnancy. Elevated levels of progesterone may lead to alterations in gastrointestinal motility which could contribute to nausea, vomiting, and/or GERD. Pregnancy-induced diarrhea may be due to elevated levels prostaglandins. This article reviews the normal physiologic and structural changes associated with pregnancy that could contribute to many of the common gastrointestinal complaints in pregnant patients. Additionally, the appropriate clinical and laboratory evaluations, other pathologic conditions that should be included in the differential, as well as the nonpharmacologic and pharmacologic therapies for each of these conditions is discussed.
Keywords: Constipation; Diarrhea; Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD); Hyperemesis gravidarum; Pregnancy; Review; Treatment; Vomiting.
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