Mouth Ulcers During Pregnancy

Spot something on your lip or inner mouth in the morning only to discover that it has grown to monstrous proportions by dinner? Do you have herpes? You see your healthcare practitioner who reassured you its just mouth ulcers which are common during pregnancy.

Mouth ulcers? You never had one of those before. What do you do and where did it come from?

One under-discussed side effect of pregnancy is mouth ulcers – little welt-like spots sometimes referred to as canker sores. These appear on your tongue, lips or inner cheeks and can cause pain and irritation.

The Mayo Clinic defines canker sores, also known as mouth sores or ulcers, as small blisters that appear on the soft tissue in your mouth or gums. Though they’re not contagious and typically go away on their own, they can be painful and disruptive to eating and talking.

During your first trimester of pregnancy, hormone levels surge, and some women experience canker sores with higher frequency. Stress can exacerbate the problem. If your emotions run amuck during pregnancy, canker sores may be a by-product of these intense moods and hormone imbalance.

There are a number of things happening in your body that make you more susceptible to canker sores / mouth ulcers during pregnancy:

Hormonal changes: Pregnancy generates hormonal changes which can affect the way our body responds to toxins and even the blood supply to the gum tissue. This makes women more prone to oral health issues.

Vitamin deficiency: There are a number of foods that may cause canker sores like chocolate, wheat, and citrus fruits. However in pregnancy there is another possible dietary cause – vitamin deficiency. So much is going on in your body during this time that it’s pretty easy to not get enough. Try to ensure sufficient intake of Vitamin B12, folic acid and zinc in particular.

Stress: Pregnancy can be a stressful time. You’re coping with these bodily changes, while trying to prepare for a new baby and holding down all your normal responsibilities. Sometimes the body reacts physically to stress and one symptom can be mouth ulcers in pregnancy.

Changes to your mouth and eating habits: You may also be producing less saliva during pregnancy and eating more sweets and carbs, creating an oral environment that’s friendlier to plaque and cavities and ulcers!

Delayed reaction to morning sickness: If you experienced morning sickness with vomiting earlier in your pregnancy, your teeth and gums could be feeling the temporary effects of your morning mishaps in the bathroom. Make sure to brush thoroughly after every time you throw up to prevent ulcers, cavities, and tooth decay. 

Remember, it is important to remember to always consult with your primary care provider if you see something out of the norm when pregnant.


Shoshi S.
Shoshi is a graduate from Stern College for Women in New York City. Her areas of interest include policy, non-profit organizations, and administration. During winter 2018, she was a White House intern. Shoshi has also interned at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles and at Save the Children in New York. As a millennial, Shoshi brings a young and fresh perspective to the worlds of pregnancy and lactation.

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