Skip to main content
Baby Corner logo
Login | Sign Up

Ptyalism: Another Strange Symptom of Pregnancy

Katlyn Joy |20, December 2013


Pregnancy is a wonderful time to glow, blossom and beam. And belch, break out, swell, and get dizzy among other things. But chances are unless it happens to you or someone you know, you will never hear of ptyalism. After all, it is not the most common of pregnancy conditions, and many people who suffer from it will likely not share about it with others.

What is Ptyalism?

Simply put, it's excessive saliva. The word comes from the Greek and means, "to spit much." Usually ptyalism is associated with a bad case of morning sickness, perhaps the kind that becomes hyperemesis gravidarum which is an extreme case of morning sickness and nausea that may lead to hospitalization with IV fluids.

What Causes Ptyalism?

There is no neat and simple answer, only some probable reasons. Among them, of course, is the usual culprit in pregnancy: hormones. Other suspected causes include the fact that nauseated pregnant women may be reluctant to swallow saliva and will then have excess spit. Also, so many expectant women battle heartburn and indigestion, and the reflux of stomach acid will irritate the esophagus, which in turn triggers the salivary glands to pump out more saliva to balance the state of affairs with the more alkaline substance of saliva.

When Will it Appear and More Importantly When Will it End?

Since it's usually a co-star along with morning sickness, ptyalism most often appears early in pregnancy and continues until the morning sickness ends, which in most cases ends with the conclusion of the first trimester.

However, there are some cases of morning sickness, especially with hyperemesis gravidarum, where it may go on well into the pregnancy, perhaps until delivery, although this would be rare.

Can it Harm the Pregnancy or My Baby?

Ptyalism is an annoying symptom of pregnancy, but unless a woman has severe morning sickness along with ptyalism and becomes dehydrated, no risk is posed to mother or child. Despite the difficulties in swallowing or nausea, pregnant women must still make sure they are drinking plenty of liquids, especially water and milk.

How to Deal with Ptyalism?

Like so many irritating side effects of expectancy, some cases of ptyalism must just be endured and generally, within 12 weeks or so, it will subside. Until then, there are some things you can do to hopefully lessen the symptoms.

  • Chew gum. Opt for sugarless gum.
  • Suck on hard candies. Again, sugarless is your best choice.
  • Brush your teeth. Of course, you are doing that already, but increase the frequency to several times a day and also include mouthwash in your oral care routine.
  • Drink water throughout the day. Don't gulp down glasses especially if you are still nauseated, but sip frequently throughout the day.
  • Eat small and frequent meals. This will also help your morning sickness. Avoid starchy foods that will exacerbate your over-salivation.
  • Follow tips to reduce morning sickness. Top ideas? Eat crackers before bed and before rising from bed, and rise slowly. Have a high protein snack later in the evening. Never let your tummy go empty.
  • Lime can fight nausea and therefore ptyalism. Sounds weird, but suck on a section of lime to fight off morning sickness.
  • If all else fails, discuss with your doctor. There may be medication that can help, or perhaps other lifestyle tips your physician wants you to try.

Remember, you will feel better and before you know it the whole reason for your discomfort will arrive and all will be forgiven and happily forgotten. Perhaps purchase a tiny spittoon of pink or blue to remember the craziness.

Related Articles

Signs of Pregnancy With a Negative Pregnancy Test

Very Early Signs Of Pregnancy - Do You Know The 10 Pregnancy Signs?

How Your Second Pregnancy May Be Different Than Your First

Dreams During Pregnancy

Fatigue During Pregnancy


Be the first to add your comment, or ask a question.

Add Comment

You are commenting as Guest.
Please register or login if you would like to be notified by email of replies to your comment.

Pregnancy Week by Week

Not sure of your due date? Find out with our due date calculator.

Pregnancy Week by Week Personalized For You
See how your baby grows each week throughout your pregnancy with advice and tips for what to expect.

Enter Your Due Date

New Today at Baby Corner

Pregnancy Community