Why Am I Spitting So Much During Pregnancy? Science Explains

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Pregnancy hormones cause many strange changes in your body, including an increase in saliva production. It’s not enough that you’re battling morning sickness — now you’re wondering, “Why am I spitting so much during pregnancy?” For a small percentage of unlucky women, this normal occurrence becomes a burdensome condition called ptyalism, which comes from the ancient Greek word for “salivate,” according to the Oxford Dictionary of English. Baby Center pointed to nausea, heartburn, and environmental irritants as possible causes for all that extra spit, but “there is no clear explanation or underlying cause for ptyalism in pregnancy,” says Dr. Adrienne D. Zertuche, an OB-GYN with Atlanta Women’s Healthcare Specialists, in an interview with Romper.

Studies of ptyalism during pregnancy date back to the 1950s. Prior to that, ptyalism in pregnancy was associated with mental illness. In other words, the medical community thought women were just exaggerating their excessive spitting and the discomfort it caused. A 1956 study published in An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology noted that excessive salivation is both “an extremely rare complication of pregnancy” and “should be differentiated from the mild increase in salivation which is a common finding in normal gestation.” Ptyalism may be rare, but that’s cold comfort when it happens to you. At least you know you’re…

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