Newborn Basics

Q&A: Is Acid Reflux More Common In Premature Newborns?

Is acid reflux more common in premature newborns?

Yes. Reflux is the backward flow of stomach contents into the esophagus (the tube that connects the mouth and the stomach) and happens when the muscle that opens to allow food to pass from the esophagus and into the stomach (the lower esophageal sphincter) isn’t strong enough or lacks the coordination to keep food in the stomach. Weaker muscles and coordination issues are more common among preemies, which is why reflux is more common. Other factors that can cause reflux: breathing problems, food taking longer to pass from the stomach to the intestines, and the presence of a feeding tube.

By Dr. Jennifer Gunter