- Excessive salivation during pregnancy
- What causes excessive salivation?
- Dealing with hypersalivation during pregnancy
- Are there any benefits of excess saliva?
- Is excessive salivation dangerous during pregnancy?
Pregnancy comes with some annoying experiences. One such thing is excessive salivation, especially if you are having morning sickness. There is nothing to worry about as it is a temporary condition and diminishes after a few weeks.
Excessive Salivation During Pregnancy
The excessive build-up of saliva or hypersalivation during the early weeks of pregnancy occurs in around 2.4% of women (1).
The other medical terms used for this condition are ptyalism or sialorrhea. It is usually associated with nausea and vomiting (2) and subsides as nausea improves towards the 12th to 14th week of pregnancy.
According to a study published in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing (JOGNN), normal saliva secretion in non-pregnant women between 15 and 45 years of age is around 22ml/hour (about 530ml/day). But, hypersalivation increases it to 1,900ml/ day.
Excessive salivation begins during the second or third week of pregnancy and subsides towards the end of the first trimester. However, in some women, this condition may continue until the delivery. Let’s see the reasons behind this condition.
What Causes Excessive Salivation?
The exact reason for excessive salvation is not known. However, it could result due to some other health conditions, such as:
- Hormonal changes in your body during pregnancy (3).
- Extreme morning sickness or hyperemesis gravidarum could build up saliva in the mouth because you tend to swallow less to avoid unpleasantness.
- Heartburn or acidity. The acidic content in your stomach is pushed up into the esophagus by the expanding uterus, causing irritation or a burning sensation. The esophagus then triggers your salivary glands to produce extra saliva (which is alkaline) to reduce the burning sensation by neutralizing the stomach acid.
[ Read: Heartburn During Pregnancy ]
- Tooth decay or oral infections such as cavity infection and dental caries (4).
- Exposure to irritants such as toxic chemicals.
- Certain medications such as tranquilizers, anticonvulsants, anticholinesterases, and lithium when they interact with the salivary gland receptors cause excess saliva (5).
Excessive salivation is not a grave problem but an irritant. Ptyalism, along with morning sickness, would make life difficult for a pregnant woman. But the good news is you can get relief from the problem.
Dealing With Hypersalivation In Pregnancy
You can manage the unpleasant problem of excessive salivation with some easy measures at home. Here is what you can do about it:
- Avoid consuming foods that are high in carbohydrates and are starchy.
- Get you oral checkups done regularly to prevent any dental or oral infections. Excessive saliva during pregnancy is associated with gum and mouth problems. Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics if there is an infection.
- Eat small meals in shorter intervals.
- Brushing teeth and using a mouthwash four to five times a day may relieve you from excessive salivation to some extent.
- Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water. It also helps swallow the excess saliva that is being produced.
- Chewing sugarless candies, chewing gums, or mints will help divert your attention. Moreover, it will help you swallow the excess saliva.
- Sucking on an ice cube will make your mouth feel numb, thereby secreting less saliva.
- Sucking on a lime or chewing a piece of ginger can also alleviate the discomfort to some extent. Make sure to consult your doctor before trying these home remedies.
- Eat crunchy fruits or veggies like apples and carrots.
- Spit out the excess saliva in a washcloth, cup, or tissue, if swallowing saliva makes you feel nauseated.
- Eat dry, plain crackers.
- You may go for alternative medicines such as homeopathy or Ayurveda, but take your gynecologist’s consent before doing so.
- If you suffer from severe vomiting (hyperemesis gravidarum), make sure to visit your doctor and take medications to control vomiting.
If the condition is not severe and isn’t bothering you much, then you might be glad to know that excessive salivation can actually be good for you.
[ Read: Vomiting During Pregnancy ]
Are There Any Benefits Of Excess Saliva?
Yes. There are a few benefits of hypersalivation such as:
- It helps the body neutralize the stomach acids.
- Protects the teeth against harmful bacteria.
- Helps improve digestion by breaking down the food.
- Keeps your mouth lubricated.
Normally, the saliva produced by our salivary glands goes unnoticed as we swallow it continually and unconsciously. But, combined with nausea, this pregnancy symptom becomes difficult to manage. But, is there something more than just unpleasantness?
Is Excessive Salivation Dangerous During Pregnancy?
Excessive salivation is not dangerous. It will not harm your baby as long as there is no serious underlying physical condition that is causing it.
One of the negative impacts of excess salivation along with extreme vomiting is that it can cause dehydration. However, you can avoid this situation by drinking a lot of water.
[ Read: Water During Pregnancy ]
Excessive salivation is annoying but harmless. The best thing is, just like morning sickness, this too will subside as your pregnancy proceeds. Until then, simple tips, as mentioned above, will help you manage the condition.
Did you experience excessive salivation during your pregnancy? What did you do to deal with it? Share your experience in the comment section below.
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