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Gastrointestinal System Changes During Pregnancy

The enlarging uterus causes a gradual displacement of stomach and intestines. At term the stomach has attained a vertical position rather than its normal horizontal one. These mechanical forces lead to increased intragastric pressures as well as a change in the angle of the gastroesophageal junction, which in turn tends toward greater oesophageal reflux .

Pulmonary Aspiration of gastric contents can occur either following vomiting (active) or regurgitation (passive). Aspiration of solid material causes atelectasis, obstructive pneumonitis or lung abscess, while aspiration of acidic gastric contents results in chemical pneumonitis (Mendelson's syndrome). The most serious consequences follow aspiration of acidic materials containing particulate matter.
While the incidence of pulmonary aspiration of solid food has decreased due to patient education, that of gastric acid has remained constant.

The information in this page is presented in summarised form and has been taken from the following source(s):
1. World Anaesthesia & the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists :

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Gastrointestinal Ssytem changes during Pregnancy
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Contact Last modified: Jun 25 2002