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Dealing With Excessive Saliva in Pregnancy? Here’s Why

Yes, being pregnant can cause you to feel like you’ve got extra drool. Here’s why it happens, and what you can do about it.
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Updated July 1, 2024
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There are certain things you’re well aware may happen during pregnancy. You know that swollen feet and unusual food cravings may occur, but dealing with excess saliva during pregnancy is enough to throw anyone for a loop.

Feeling like your mouth is always watering can be a bit weird—especially if you’re now accidentally drooling here and there. Just know this: You’re not the only one dealing with this pesky pregnancy symptom. Below, doctors break down why your mouth suddenly feels like a swimming pool of saliva, plus when you can expect this symptom to go away (we promise it won’t last forever).

Is it Normal to Have Extra Saliva During Pregnancy?

Normal is a tricky word—if by “normal” you’re wondering, “does this happen to everyone?”, the answer is no. That said, “it does happen to some women,” says Damali Campbell-Oparaji, MD, an ob-gyn and associate professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. In fact, there’s even a medical name for this phenomenon: ptyalism (pronounced “tile-ism.”) While it’s not clear how many pregnant women experience ptyalism, doctors say it happens often enough to be considered a thing.

When Does Excessive Saliva Start in Pregnancy?

According to Campbell-Oparaji, excessive saliva in pregnancy can occur early on—“as early as when pregnancy can be detected, at four to six weeks.” However, keep in mind that everyone is different and will experience various pregnancy symptoms on their own timeline.

While excessive saliva can happen during the first trimester, it can also show up in the second and third trimesters as your uterus continues to grow, adds Minka Schofield, MD, MPH, clinical professor of otolaryngology at Ohio State University College of Medicine. Basically, though common early on, you can get excessive saliva at any point in your pregnancy.

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What Causes Excessive Saliva During Pregnancy?

There are a few different things causing the extra saliva in your mouth. Below, the experts break down the potential reasons:

  • Changing hormones. Your changing hormones can impact a lot of aspects of your body during pregnancy, and that includes saliva production, especially during the first trimester, Schofield says.
  • Acid reflux. This condition causes stomach acid to repeatedly flow back up into the esophagus (the tube connecting your mouth and stomach)—and, thanks to pressure from your growing uterus, it’s common in pregnancy. “Acid reflux can cause a reflex increase in saliva production,” Schofield explains .
  • Morning sickness. Feeling nauseous can trigger a response in your body to create more saliva, Schofield says, so if you’re dealing with excess saliva and morning sickness, there could be a link. It could also be a result of hyperemesis gravidarum, which is an extreme form of morning sickness, Campbell-Oparaji adds.
  • Dehydration. It may sound counterintuitive, but dehydration can actually increase saliva production. . Being dehydrated—which is common in pregnancy—can cause your saliva to thicken up and make it feel like you have more of it than usual, Schofield says. “In actuality, dehydration is causing a saliva quality problem rather than a quantity issue.”

When Does Excessive Saliva Stop in Pregnancy?

Exactly when excessive saliva stops in pregnancy usually depends on what’s causing it in the first place. If you’re dealing with excess saliva due to hormones or nausea, it usually will stop around 14 weeks, Campbell-Oparaji says. “But [for] some unlucky people [it] can last into the third trimester and rarely until delivery.”

If you’re dealing with excess saliva, unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do, other than to spit it out when the need strikes. “Sometimes secretions can be lessened by sour candy or foods like lemon wedges,” Campbell-Oparaji says. Try sour patch candies, gummies, sugar-free gum and sunflower seeds. If you suspect that dehydration may be driving your increase in saliva, upping your water intake may also help.

The good news? Though annoying to deal with, Schofield stresses that having excessive saliva during pregnancy isn’t harmful for your or baby’s health. Just chalk it up to yet another annoying pregnancy symptom.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

Sources

Damali Campbell-Oparaji, MD, is an ob-gyn and associate professor in the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive health at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. She earned her medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine and completed her residency at Mount Sinai School of Medicine-Jersey City Program.

Minka Schofield, MD, MPH, is an otolaryngologist and clinical professor of otolaryngology at Ohio State University College of Medicine. She earned her medical degree from and completed her residency at Ohio State University.

Learn how we ensure the accuracy of our content through our editorial and medical review process.

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