Dry Mouth When Pregnant: 4 Causes & What to Do

Dry Mouth When Pregnant: 4 Causes & What to Do

It may not be a symptom that you expected to experience, but having a dry mouth when pregnant is actually pretty common.

In some cases, it’s just par for the course.

But in others, it can be a sign of a health condition that needs attention.

Like most things medical, dry mouth comes with a fancy term — xerostomia.

It happens when your mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva to keep things moist.

So is dry mouth a sign of pregnancy?

Let’s dive into the details.

In this article: 📝

  • Is dry mouth a symptom of pregnancy?
  • What you can do about dry mouth during pregnancy

Is dry mouth a symptom of pregnancy?

If you’ve noticed that you’re reaching for your water glass more frequently than usual, there’s a good reason for that.

When you’re pregnant, you need extra fluids to help your baby grow and develop — not to mention supporting yourself as you move through this mighty task.

Your intake of water keeps the fluids moving around your body, getting nutrients to your little one and helping to remove waste products.

It’s also important for the creation of the amniotic fluid — the magic liquid that nourishes and protects your baby while it’s growing inside you.

Plus, fluids help keep your digestion in check, which can be a lifesaver.

But an increased need for fluids is not the only reason you might experience dry mouth.

Shifting hormones, oral thrush, and high blood sugar can all impact the moisture in your mouth.

Here are the most common causes.

1. Dehydration

Dehydration happens when more water is leaving your body than is coming in — and this can be the case when you’re pregnant.

Demand is up for fluids.

And particularly if you’re experiencing vomiting as a pregnancy symptom, it may not be that easy to keep those fluids in.

So if you have a dry mouth, it could be a sign that you need more water than you’re currently getting.

While mild dehydration shouldn’t be a problem, severe dehydration can put both you and your baby at risk.

The first signs of dehydration are:

  • Extreme thirst. So yes, that dry mouth might be trying to tell you something.
  • Feeling overheated
  • Peeing less frequently
  • Dark-colored pee
  • Constipation
  • Not sweating, even when it’s hot
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Dry skin and chapped lips
  • Braxton Hicks contractions. These early contractions can happen as soon as the second trimester, and, according to the American Pregnancy Association, may be a sign that you’re dehydrated.

If dehydration gets more severe, you may feel dizzy and confused and your heart may race. You may also have a drop in blood pressure.

Severe dehydration can affect the functioning of your organs and may cause pregnancy complications.

It could cause low amniotic fluid and may lead to complications such as problems with the development of the brain and spine.

If you think you are suffering from dehydration, it’s important to get to your healthcare provider to get the treatment that you need.

2. Hormonal shifts

Yep, like with all things pregnancy, hormones have a role to play here too.

And these hormonal shifts can affect your health in other ways, too.

You may experience:

Dental woes

The American Dental Association explains that hormonal shifts related to pregnancy can affect your saliva production.

And as it turns out, those mouth juices have a very important role to play in your oral health.

They wash away unwanted bacteria and waste, helping to protect your mouth from dental problems like gingivitis (gum disease) and tooth loss.

Sleep trouble

You may have already noticed that sleeping and pregnancy are not always happy bedfellows.

And that you’re snoring a bit more than usual.

You’re not alone.

Nasal congestion in pregnancy is common.

And if you’re having trouble breathing, you may be opening your mouth through the night in an attempt to sip in that delicious air.

The result? You wake up with a pretty dry mouth.

Those who suffer from severe sinus trouble and/or sleep apnea are more at risk.

3. Oral thrush

We all have a fungus in our bodies called Candida albicans.

When everything’s running smoothly, that fungus is kept in check and your body is happy to accommodate it.

But sometimes, it gets ambitious and replicates beyond the levels your immune system can control.

You might notice:

  • Little white bumps on your tongue and cheeks
  • Redness and pain in your mouth
  • A loss of taste

And yes, it can make your mouth feel like it’s home to a galaxy of cotton balls.

4. Gestational diabetes

When you’re pregnant, you need an increased supply of insulin, the hormone that controls the glucose levels in your bloodstream.

If your body is struggling to keep up with this new demand, you may develop gestational diabetes, a condition that can affect the health of you and your baby.

This usually happens in the late second trimester.

While this may sound scary, there’s good news!

High blood sugar levels can be managed, often with diet and exercise.

And if you need a little extra help, there is medication available.

If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, your blood sugar should return to its previous levels after your pregnancy.

You may just need to have your sugar monitored more closely in the future.

So how do you know if you have it? You may not even know that you have it and may only discover it when your doctor screens you for it in your second trimester.

But if symptoms do kick in, dry mouth is a common one.

You may notice that you’re way more thirsty and exhausted than normal and that you pee more than you’re used to.

These are all common pregnancy symptoms, so there’s no need to panic.

But it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor if you’re worried.

What you can do about dry mouth during pregnancy

Right. Next steps. What can we do about it?

First, if you’re experiencing any severe symptoms, it’s important to talk to your doctor to rule out complications.

Some medications can also cause dry mouth, so your doctor may want to change up anything that’s causing you trouble.

Then, here are some handy tips to say bye to the dry:

  • Water yourself. You are growing a baby, after all. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends drinking between eight and twelve glasses of water a day.
  • Keep the caffeine intake low. It’s okay to drink small amounts of coffee while you’re pregnant, but it’s probably best to keep your intake in check, particularly if you’re feeling dried out.
  • Maintain your dental routine. As this study explains, the temptation may be to avoid oral care while pregnant — but this can have negative effects on both your health and the health of your baby. That’s why it’s really important to keep up with routine dental visits and maintain your daily rituals. Oh, and avoid mouthwashes with alcohol, as these can dry things out further.
  • Avoid foods that are processed, sugary, and/or salty. A healthy pregnancy diet can do the job.

If you’re looking for some immediate ways to find relief:

  • Suck on some ice or frozen fruit. This can get the lubrication going in there.
  • Chew on sugar-free candies and gum. Yep, this works on that saliva production, too.
  • Try a ginger mouth spray. It appears to be an effective way to increase salivation, according to this study.
  • Use a humidifier when you sleep. This can help you breathe while you get the zzzzs you need. Breathing in steam over a bowl before you sleep can also do wonders.

And reach out to your Peanut Community.

We know navigating these symptoms can be overwhelming.

You don’t have to go through it alone.


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