One of the most important things I was always reminded of during my pregnancy by friends, family and close co-workers was to stay hydrated.
It was no problem for me because I was working full time and ALWAYS carried and refilled my water bottle all day long for as long as I can remember. I was told that the extra fluid was necessary for hydration of the amniotic sac.
Made sense to me.
I never really looked into why staying hydrated was important, I just kind of did my duty and chugged water even though it sent me to the bathroom non-stop. I also found that it helped fend off my headaches.
Now I am hearing from my bestie about her recent pregnancy and how she is waking in the middle of the night, PARCHED, and almost not even able to swallow at times.
She is in her first trimester, about nine weeks along and it is not just the constant toilet trips that are waking her at night.
It’s that darn dry mouth and throat of hers. I can only imagine what a pain it is to have to pee and have to go get water in the middle of the night over and over. Falling back to sleep is not always the easiest.
#1. Major hormonal changes.
I decided to find out, what is really going on in expecting mothers to cause dry mouth?
Our bodies have a ton of hormonal changes going on, especially during the first trimester where it is kicking into gear and starting the fetus’ growth process. For this reason, hormonal shifts can cause a reduction in saliva flow, therefore… you guessed it, dry mouth.
And why is saliva so important?
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, it helps you digest food, prevent tooth decay, prevent infection by controlling bacteria and fungi in the mouth, and makes it possible for you to chew and swallow.
#2. Your bod is doing it’s thing: increased blood production
According to the Merck Manual, with pregnancy comes the production of 30 to 50 percent more blood to support your growing baby.
Water makes up 83 percent of our blood, so we must be diligent in making sure we are drinking enough water. Less means more dehydration and dry mouth.
#3. You are failing to do your part: drink more water!
Some of us might have had that one friend in school or maybe work who never drank water.
Did it ever make you wonder if they quenched their thirst by chugging that soda instead of water? I don’t know if I ever saw her drink water.
Drinking little water could totally be suspect and the cause of your dry mouth. Sugary drinks only make you more thirsty.
#4. You might be working harder than you realize.
If you were already active before pregnancy, your body’s higher metabolism will cause you to sweat more.
According to AmericanPregnancy.org, pregnancy itself increases your metabolism and your need for more nutritional intake.
So, drinking more water is necessary in replacing water lost when you sweat and will help your digestion and system flow with ease.
If you are not replacing this water, you will be left feeling thirsty and dehydrated.
#5. Dry mouth could be a sign of gestational diabetes.
In looking further into the topic, dry mouth came up as a symptom of gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
That’s a little scary, right?
Because we all should have known that feeling thirsty was a cause for something that could hurt me or my baby if left untreated? (insert sarcasm)
Per the CDC, Gestational Diabetes comes about when blood sugar is not well controlled.
This may lead to complications for the baby and mother such as:
- An overfed, extra large baby.
- A higher chance of needing a c-section to deliver.
- High blood pressure of the mother causing her to go into labor early.
- Heightening the cause seizure or stroke during labor.
Being thirsty may just be a sign of you needing to hydrate, but you know your own body, so speak up to your physician if things do not feel right.
Typically, a glucose test is done in the second trimester where gestational diabetes being present can be determined.
#6 Medications you’re taking could be the culprit.
Dry mouth could also be a side effect of a medication you were taking prior to baby and are still taking. Be sure to ask your doctor if that medication is still safe for you and your growing baby.
Dry mouth woes.
So now that we know what can cause a desert in your mouth during pregnancy, below are the troubles you will avoid if you take time to hydrate per the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
- Dry mouth is uncomfortable and can make it hard for you to speak, swallow, taste and chew. It can wake you up at night or make it hard to fall to sleep.
- It can increase your chances of dental decay and infections in your mouth.
- It can lead to a dry/rough tongue, cracked lips, and mouth sores.
Playing it safe.
First and foremost, drink your water. If you drink a glass, follow it with another. Maybe keep a sports or water bottle with you during the day for that constant reminder.
You can even think about joining a social media group such as the ones on the Community pages of Babycenter.com where mothers will post a bulletin reminding themselves and others to drink water and stay encouraged.
Some other things you can try to help avoid a dry mouth that are known from word of mouth and according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research are:
- Avoid drinks with caffeine like coffee, tea, and soda. Most doctors will put expecting mothers on a low caffeine diet anyway. (this includes chocolate!)
- Sip water while chewing your food which helps make chewing and swallowing easier.
- Avoid sticky, sugary foods. If you indulge, brush your teeth or rinse your mouth soon after.
- Avoid tobacco and alcohol which dry out the mouth. (and because, baby!)
- Try a humidifier at night while you sleep. (be sure to clean it often to avoid bacterial growth over time.)
- Add a splash of citrus (like lemon) to your water to jump start your salivary glands for saliva production.
- Sugar free candy to suck on it recommended but not all sugar free candy is safe during pregnancy. Maybe try sucking on small pieces of fruit or ice to wet your pallet.
- Eat a low sodium diet. Foods high in sodium make you thirsty.
- Eat a healthier regimen including greens and nuts. Eating a healthy diet will keep in good health overall.
Overall, dry mouth does not sound fun nor feel fun and can also be a little more serious than you think causing unwanted health issues that you may have not been aware of before.
Most of the issues seem to be more of an inconvenience than anything and you should want your pregnancy to go as smoothly as possible.
It is recommended to stay on top of your hydration and be sure to bring up anything more out of the ordinary to your doctor.
Let’s raise a glass (of water!) to you and your baby’s health… cheers!