Sialorrhea gravidarum, what it is and what to do

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Sialorrhea gravidarum

One of the most unexpected "side effects" of pregnancy is excessive salivation, more technically called sialorrhea gravidarum o ptyalism. What are the causes and when it comes to a physiological and normal condition?

In this article

  • Is it normal to have excessive salivation during pregnancy?
  • What are the causes of sialorrhea gravidarum?
  • How to decrease sialorrhea in pregnancy?
  • Sialorrhea in the early days of pregnancy


Is it normal to have excessive salivation during pregnancy?

The answer is yes and this condition will not affect the child's development or health. Under normal circumstances, the salivary glands produce about 1 and a half liters of saliva per day, but we don't notice it because we unconsciously swallow it all the time.

During pregnancy it may, therefore, seem to have one in your mouth increased amount of saliva: in some women, drooling is accompanied by morning sickness, while other pregnant women may even feel the need to spit out excess saliva.

Read also: Acidity and heartburn in pregnancy

What are the causes of sialorrhea gravidarum

During the nine months the woman's body modifies and changes completely to accommodate the baby, allow him to grow correctly and then to give him birth. Many changes are unexpected and indeed theexcessive salivation is one of them. The causes are diverse and include:

  • Hormonal changes: Although there is no certainty of the role played by hormone changes in the development of drooling, many speculate that the role of progesterone is one of the causes.
  • Nausea: Nausea can cause some women to try to swallow less and this can cause saliva to build up in the mouth and sialorrhea is more common among women who suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form of morning sickness. Therefore, when you suffer from nausea, saliva is acidic and you try, unconsciously, not to swallow it, but this only amplifies the discomfort.
  • Heartburn: Producing more saliva can also be related to heartburn, which is a common ailment during pregnancy. The contents of the stomach are acidic and can irritate the esophagus when it builds up. The acid sensors in the esophagus then activate the salivary glands to produce saliva with a higher concentration of bicarbonate, which is alkaline. Basically every time we swallow, saliva wets the walls of the esophagus helping to neutralize stomach acid.
  • Irritating factors: the role of some irritants, such as smoking, infections of the oral cavity, some drugs, is also undoubted.

How to decrease sialorrhea in pregnancy

Since the drooling is a pregnancy disorder that is not so well known and often catches unprepared, it is important not to be overwhelmed and think positively: it is a passing annoyance, mainly linked to the change that is taking place in the mother's body as it prepares to welcome the baby and does not c is nothing to be ashamed of!

First of all if the disturbance becomes unpleasant and very annoying you can talk about it with your doctor who will probably try to investigate the underlying causes that may favor the onset of drooling. If the cause is nausea, for example, then that will mostly be treated. Same goes if the salivation should be caused bystomach acid.

In everyday life we ​​can, however, implement some practical measures such as:

  • Brush your teeth more often using mouthwash;
  • eating small, balanced and more frequent meals;
  • limit starch intake;
  • drink plenty of water, keeping a bottle of fresh water on hand to drink in small sips throughout the day;
  • swallowing excess saliva;
  • chew hard candy or sugar-free gum, which will make it easier to swallow saliva.

Sialorrhea in the early days of pregnancy

Excessive salivation may be more frequent and common especially in early stages of pregnancy, when the frequency and intensity of morning sickness peak occurs. For this reason, sialorrhea in most future mothers lasts especially in the first quarter and then gradually diminishes after the fourth month.


  • US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health
  • Infant Jesus Hospital

  • disorders
  • pregnancy nausea
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