Pregnancy is a great time to blossom, glow and beam. And also a time to break out, swell, get dizzy and belch among other things. Some females experience a symptom of much saliva during pregnancy especially when they are having nausea. A few females will produce so much saliva that they require spitting it frequently. Excessive salivation is also referred to as sialorrhea or ptyalism and while it is an unpleasant symptom, the good news is that it does not affect your baby.
What Causes Excessive Salivation During Pregnancy?
In normal circumstances, approximately ½ quarts of saliva per day is produced by the salivary glands, but due to continuous and unconscious swallowing, the saliva generally doesn’t get noticed. Hence, if you suddenly notice more saliva then either you are producing more saliva or swallowing less-or both.
Health experts are not aware of the exact causes of excessive salivation in some females during the early months of pregnancy; however, hormonal changes that take place in the body during pregnancy are thought to be the culprit.
Moreover, due to nausea, some females try to swallow less amount of saliva, causing its build up in the mouth.
Extreme morning sickness and vomiting may be linked with more saliva production during early pregnancy. The walls of the esophagus are bathed in the saliva each time you swallow and help in neutralizing the gastric acid. This is the reason why females who are vomiting experience more salivation.
Ptyalism is more commonly present in pregnant females who have hyperemesis gravidarum, which causes excessive dehydration and vomiting during pregnancy that may require hospitalization along with administration of IV fluids.
Excessive saliva during pregnancy can also occur due to heartburn, which is quite common during pregnancy. Your stomach contents are acidic in nature and when they regurgitate they irritate the esophagus, causing the typical burning sensation of heartburn. Your salivary glands are triggered by the acid sensors present in your esophagus to secrete saliva, which is alkaline due to presence of increased bicarbonate in it.
Other irritants such as smoke may also lead to increased salivation.
Excessive salivation may also occur due to oral infections and tooth decay, certain medicines, exposure to toxins such as pesticides and mercury and certain medical illnesses.
What Can I Do About It?
Though there is not much that can be done about excessive salivation during pregnancy; you can take some precautions to control it to some extent:
If you are smoking, it is recommended that you cut down or completely quit during pregnancy. Smoking not only increases the production of saliva but also put you and your baby to many other health risks.
If you are suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, it is recommended that you consult your physician and take some medicine to control your vomiting.
If the cause of your excessive saliva during pregnancy is mouth infections or tooth decay, it is recommended that you consult a dentist as you may require antibiotics to control the infection.
Eat well balanced, small meals at regular intervals. Avoid eating foods that contain a lot of carbohydrates or are too starchy.
You can use a natural mouthwash at least 4-5 times a day and brush your teeth to help with the problem of excess salivation. These will not only relieve the problem but also make it less annoying for you.
You may become dehydrated due to excessive secretion of saliva. Drink plenty of fluids, especially water so that you stay hydrated at all times. Water will also help you swallow the excessive saliva that is being secreted. Take small sips of water frequently. Watch out for any signs of dehydration such as weight loss, and passing urine less frequently or in smaller volumes. If these symptoms occur along with vomiting, it is recommended to consult a physician.
Chew sugarless candies, chewing gums or mints continuously to divert your attention and mind. This will not stop the secretion of saliva but will help you swallow the excess saliva that is being secreted. Avoid chewing sour gum and candies as they can stimulate production of saliva.
You can suck on a lime or a lemon or put a couple of drops of lime or lemon essential oil on a wash cloth to sniff. You can also try sucking on a piece of ginger for relief of nausea.
Alternative therapies including reflexology, chiropractic treatment, Chinese medicine or homoeopathy may also help you secrete less saliva. However, make sure that you see a well qualified physician who is registered with a professional organization. Some of the commonly used herbs in Chinese medicine to treat excess saliva production are Pinellia, Alpinia oxyphylla, poria and magnolias bark.
If excessive salivation is interfering with your normal life or disturbing your sleep, it is recommended that you consult your physician as there are medical treatments available that can help your problem.
What Others Have to Say about This Issue?
I am having the problem of excessive saliva during pregnancy. I am 12+ weeks pregnant. I have tried sipping on water frequently at regular intervals and it helps. I also put few fennel seeds in my mouth, it also controls the saliva, though not totally solve the problem.
I am having my third pregnancy and have had this problem of excessive salivation in all my pregnancies. In my second pregnancy, I tried hard candies and gum and they work, especially in public, because you just have to say that you want something sweet. I will stick to candies and go sugarless as they work for me.
This is my second pregnancy and I am in my 10th week. I also have this problem of excess saliva production. When I go out in public I chew gum or carry a water bottle or drink which I sip slowly when I feel that the saliva has started to accumulate in my mouth. It helps a lot with the saliva secretion.