Coping with Ptyalism
It is recommended that you speak to your caregiver about this condition so he or she can try to help you relieve any underlying condition that may be contributing to the problem, like nausea, vomiting, or heartburn. "Talk to your doctor about different medications you can try," Dr. Pando says. "If you smoke cigarettes this could be the reason, [so] ask your doctor for a referral to a smoking cessation program."
Dr. Pando reports that some women find the following measures helpful:
- Eat frequent, small meals and avoid excessive amounts of starchy food.
- Drink plenty of water. Take frequent small sips. This will make it easier for you to swallow the saliva you do produce.
- Try munching on crackers before getting out of bed, eating every two hours, and having a high-protein snack before bedtime.
Other tricks may include sucking on hard candies (maybe peppermint, which could also help with any nausea) to make swallowing the saliva more palatable.
Laura Laing of Baltimore, Maryland, came up with a trick that worked for her. "I discovered cinnamon gum!" she says. "When I had that gum in my mouth, I felt normal. I went through about a pack a day. I even kept it by my bed, so that I could pop some in my mouth in the middle of the night. I was just praying that I wouldn't end up with the red goo in my hair in the morning."
Others found it necessary to carry around tissue or even small cups in which to spit. "Purchase a little powdered drink mix can (keep the top, you'll need it), empty, decorate, and add a few Kleenexes—instant decorator spittoon," McIntosh says.
Most of all, don't stress about this condition. Dr. Pando reminds moms that the most important thing is to remember that ptyalism has no adverse effect on pregnancy and the condition generally subsides after the first trimester.
* Last name withheld to protect privacy.