Excessive Salivation During Pregnancy: Causes and Remedies

Pregnancy comes with all sorts of symptoms, but did you know drooling is one of them? Compared to morning sickness, it’s one of the lesser known effects of early pregnancy – in fact, a lot of moms have never even heard of it. Let’s take a look at the condition known as ptyalism gravidarum – in other words, excessive salivation during pregnancy – plus what you can do about it.

Can’t stop drooling? It could be thanks to pregnancy

woman covers mouth

Ptyalism gravidarum, or excessive salivation, means the glands in your mouth are producing more saliva than usual. The amount of excess saliva varies from person to person, ranging from people who find themselves swallowing their spit more than usual, to those who have too much to even attempt swallowing it all.

Some expecting mothers are bothered by a change in the taste of their own saliva, with many finding the taste of it makes them feel sick. Other women also find that the texture of their saliva changes, becoming stickier than usual.

What causes excessive salivation during pregnancy?

sick woman drinks water

Experts aren’t quite sure what causes some women to produce excess saliva during pregnancy, though nausea and hormonal changes seem to be a likely factor. This symptom is also associated with hyperemesis gravidarum, a rare but severe form of morning sickness.

On the other hand, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the extra drool is thought to be the result of digestion slowing down as the body changes with pregnancy, so the “water toxins” that would have been normally flushed out start to build up in the body, upsetting the yin/yang, wet/dry balance.

Whatever the culprit, there are measures you can take to get back in control of excessive salivation.

Excessive Salivation Remedy #1: Be careful of drying out!

woman drinks water

When you have excess salivation during pregnancy, the most important thing to watch out for is dehydration. You are losing as much liquid as you are spitting out, and your body needs more water than usual during pregnancy, so remember to keep your fluids up!

Keep watch for any signs of dehydration like weight loss, and urinating smaller volumes or less frequently. If these occur alongside symptoms like vomiting, it’s time to see a doctor.

Excessive Salivation Remedy #2: When you’re out, carry a water bottle

water bottle

If the extra saliva you’ve been producing isn’t too much to swallow, then chewing gum or sucking on a hard candy can help get rid of it. But if you’re producing more spit than you can keep up with, there’s nothing left can do but spit it out. One way to do this discretely while you’re out and about is to carry a water bottle in an opaque cover or case. Pretending to drink gives you a chance to empty out your mouth without raising any eyebrows.

Excessive Salivation Remedy #3: Make sure you have somewhere to spit at night

towel basket

Extra saliva can be extra annoying when you’re trying to sleep, so try keeping towels, tissues or even a water bottle to spit into near your pillow. This will keep you from needing to get up and use the bathroom too much. However, towels and tissues can also dry out your lips, so you may need to use a chapstick to care for them. Either way, it will do you good to find a way that helps you clear mouth during the night.

Excessive Salivation Remedy #4: Chinese herbal medicine

chinese herbal medicine

Aside from home remedies like sucking on pieces of lime or ginger, there are a number of natural treatments for excessive salivation in pregnancy. In particular, Traditional Chinese Medicine offers a wide range of herbal treatment for this symptom, which is thought to work by restoring the balance of yin and yang (or in this case, wet and dry) in your body. Some of the common herbs Chinese medicine experts use to treat excess salivation include Alpinia oxyphylla, Pinellia, poria and magnolia bark.

As always, check with you doctor before taking any herbal medicines to make sure they’re safe for you and your baby.

Should I see a doctor about excessive salivation during pregnancy?

happy doctor visit

Excess salivation might not be as famous as other pregnancy symptoms like nausea and vomiting, but it’s something that’s been popping up in guidebooks for expecting mothers for a long time. If this symptom is bothering you or becomes severe, talk to your doctor about it. You’re definitely not alone if being pregnant makes you drool!