Mouth Ulcers (Canker Sores) In Pregnancy: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

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Are Mouth Ulcers Common In Pregnancy?

Mouth ulcers, also known as canker sores, are as common in pregnant women as they are in nonpregnant women. However, you need not worry as these are temporary and could go away within a week or two.

You might get just one sore at a time or three to four at once. Sometimes, mouth ulcers could be recurrent. They usually look like small spots filled with water and commonly occur on the tongue, inner cheeks, or on the inside of the lips.

Other than the discomfort and pain they cause, mouth sores do not have any serious effects on your pregnancy.

Read this MomJunction post to know the causes of mouth ulcers in pregnancy and treatment methods to get rid of them.

Why Do You Get Mouth Ulcers When Pregnant?

The exact causes of mouth ulcers in pregnancy are not known. However, there are different theories (1) (2) (3).

  1. Hormonal changes: Fluctuation of hormones during pregnancy could be one of the reasons for canker sores on your lips, inside the cheeks, or on your tongue.
  1. Stress or trauma: Physical trauma (toothbrush, tongue bite, etc.) or stress could also cause mouth ulcers. Although there is no specific evidence to prove this theory in the case of pregnant women, they are the common reasons for mouth ulcers.
  1. Food sensitivity: Food allergies (especially with acidic or spicy foods) might be responsible for canker sores in the mouth.
  1. Hematinic deficiency: Deficiency of folate, iron, and vitamin B12 could also be responsible for developing mouth ulcers. However, taking proper and relevant medications or supplements can help in reducing canker stones. This is a common etiology.
  1. Others: Stress, weak immunity, tobacco, or broken teeth or dentures could be some other reasons for getting mouth ulcers.

Understanding the symptoms and signs will help you figure out what kind of mouth ulcers you have so that you can treat them accordingly.

[ Read: Tongue Sores During Pregnancy ]

Symptoms Of Mouth Ulcers In Pregnancy

Listed here are a few kinds of mouth ulcers with different treatment options.

  • You might get red, pink, white, or gray mouth ulcers on your tongue, inside your cheeks, or your lips.
  • Mouth ulcers usually give you a burning sensation, and sometimes even pain.
  • It becomes difficult to eat and talk when you get mouth ulcers.

Canker sores during pregnancy can be irritable. Nevertheless, you may try some home remedies and other treatments to reduce them.

How To Treat Mouth Ulcers In Pregnancy?

If the mouth ulcers are benign, you can try out some home remedies. But when they are frequent or spreading, you should go to a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

Here are a few home remedies that might help in easing the pain and redness of mouth ulcers.

Home remedies

  1. Try to avoid spicy and acidic foods when you have a mouth ulcer.
  1. Stop the use of tobacco. It is not only unhealthy for pregnancy but also worsens your mouth ulcers (4).
  1. You may rinse with salt water or apply hydrogen peroxide and water mixture (1:1) on the sores. Apply ice cubes on the sores to relieve pain.
  1. Use hexadine mouthwash twice or thrice a day for rinsing your mouth and killing bacteria.
  1. Cantaloupe, celery, and carrot juice are known to be helpful. But ask your healthcare provider before you consume these (2).
  1. Drink a lot of water but do not have acidic or fizzy drinks.


In case your mouth ulcers do not disappear after two weeks, or they are causing discomfort, then consult a doctor.

  1. Your doctor might prescribe different toothpaste or even a gel to apply on the mouth ulcers.
  1. Based on your health, the doctor might suggest certain nutrient-rich foods or supplements.
  1. The doctor might prescribe medications that would help treat your mouth ulcers.

How Long Does It Take For Mouth Ulcers To Heal?

It takes one to three weeks for benign mouth ulcers to heal. And it might take longer, say two to four weeks, for multiple or frequent occurrences of mouth ulcers to go away (5). When you are pregnant, you might want to wait for a couple of weeks for canker sores to disappear. If that doesn’t happen, you can go to the doctor.

[ Read: Pregnancy Hormones ]

There is nothing to worry about mouth ulcers during pregnancy. They go away with time, and with proper medications if necessary. Focus on eating nutritious food and relax during your pregnancy, while trying a home remedy or two after doctor consultation. Soon, you could be relieved of the painful sores.


1. Mouth ulcers; NHS
2. D. R. McBride; Management of Aphthous Ulcers; American Academy of Family Physicians (2000)
3. R. S. Rogers; Recurrent Aphthous Stomatitis in the Diagnosis of Behcet’s Disease; Yonsei Medical Journal (1997)
4. Mouth sores; Mount Sinai
5. Crispian Scully and Rosemary Shotts; Mouth ulcers and other causes of orofacial soreness and pain; Western Journal of Medicine


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Rebecca Malachi

Rebecca is a pregnancy writer and editor with a passion for delivering research-based and engaging content in areas of fertility, pregnancy, birth, and post-pregnancy. She has been into health and wellness writing since 2010. She received her graduate degree in Biotechnology and Genetics from Loyola Academy, Osmania University and obtained a certification in ‘Nutrition and Lifestyle in Pregnancy’ from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU). She has written articles on week-by-week pregnancies, safety, tests, nutrition, reproduction, pre-natal and post-natal health, among others. Her in-depth analysis and fact-checks give readers the right information to navigate through their pregnancy and wellness journeys. Rebecca's articles have been quoted in publications, such as ResearchGate, IJRAR Research Journal, AMA Journal (American Management Association), and Journal of African Interdisciplinary Studies (JAIS). As an associate editor, she now guides writers and edits their copies. In her spare time, Rebecca enjoys gospel music, gardening, traveling, and shopping.

Dr. Shashwat Jani

Dr. Shashwat Jani is a consultant obstetrician & gynecologist in Smt. N.H.L. Municipal Medical College, Ahmedabad. His field of interests are High Risk Pregnancy, Infertility and Endoscopy. He has written 12 chapters in reference books of Ob/Gyn and published 18 articles in Index journals. Dr. Jani has been invited as faculty in more than 200 national and international conferences. He... more