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Pregnancy & Salivation

By Rose Erickson ; Updated June 13, 2017

Excess saliva production during pregnancy, also called ptyalism, is not uncommon during pregnancy, especially during the first 12 weeks. Although this pregnancy symptom is typically harmless and temporary, it is annoying and sometimes difficult to hide. Fortunately, there are many ways to tame the condition and prevent any potential complications.


The hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy sometimes trigger excess salivation. In addition, nausea, especially severe nausea, causes you to swallow less frequently, which allows saliva to accumulate in your mouth. Large amounts of saliva are also sometimes due to heartburn, which triggers saliva production to help neutralize the stomach contents and acid. Irritants and conditions such as smoke, oral infections and environmental toxins also trigger the production of saliva during pregnancy.


Although there isn’t much that you can do to actually stop the production of saliva, there are many ways to make it easier to deal it. Eat small meals frequently throughout the day to keep your stomach from becoming empty, which often triggers nausea and excess salivation during pregnancy. Take frequent sips of water so that you swallow often. Chew on sugarless gum or suck on hard candies to make it easier to swallow the saliva.


Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about excess saliva production during pregnancy. He can help you pinpoint causes or offer treatment options for any specific underlying conditions such as heartburn or vomiting. If you feel nauseated about swallowing any excess saliva, carry a cup or a pack of tissues with you at all times so that you can discretely spit out any extra saliva into them.

Possible Complications

Although producing excess saliva during pregnancy is not usually a harmful condition, serious ptyalism sometimes causes you to lose up to two liters of saliva every single day. Unfortunately, this means that it is possible to become dehydrated if you spit out your excess saliva. To combat this, be sure to drink about eight cups of water or other fluids every day to replace any water you spit out and prevent dehydration.

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