During pregnancy, an influx of hormones is responsible for a number of changes. These hormones can also bring about unwanted symptoms, especially during the first trimester.
If you feel like you have old coins in your mouth, sensory changes from pregnancy may be to blame.
When you’re pregnant, estrogen and progesterone levels increase to help your body maintain your growing baby. While hormones are certainly necessary, they also contribute to symptomatic changes in the body.
This is especially true during the first trimester as your body is adjusting to pregnancy.
For some women, pregnancy brings about changes in appetite and food preferences. You might have a strong craving for chocolate, pickles, or chips that you didn’t have before. Learn more about pregnancy cravings here.
Sensory changes from pregnancy can also leave unusual tastes in your mouth. A common one of these is the notorious metallic taste.
Morning sickness, which causes vomiting, is a common concern during the first trimester. You might also experience other sensory changes during this time, including ones that affect smell and taste. Hormonal changes are thought to cause a condition called dysgeusia in some pregnant women.
Dysgeusia refers to changes in taste. Specifically, it can cause your mouth to taste:
Studies show that dysgeusia is generally worse in the first part of pregnancy, and improves towards the end. There are many medical explanations for dysgeusia aside from pregnancy. These may include:
- taking vitamins or supplements
- over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications
- colds or infections in the mouth
- dry mouth
- kidney or liver disease
- cancer or cancer treatments
heavy metal or chemical exposurehaving certain dental appliances or fillings
If you don’t have any of the above medical concerns, then dysgeusia is most likely considered benign. However, this should be evaluated by a doctor, especially if you have other bothersome or new symptoms besides the taste of metal.
Dysgeusia itself doesn’t directly affect changes in your food cravings or aversions. But it can make some foods taste bitter or unpleasant. This is the case with foods that leave aftertastes, such as those made with artificial sweeteners. Mineral water can also increase the taste of metal in your mouth.
Medically speaking, there’s no treatment that can get rid of the metallic taste you experience in pregnancy. Still, there are steps you can take to minimize the effects of dysgeusia. Dietary changes you can make include:
- taking sugar-free mints or chewing sugarless gum
- eating colder items such as ice chips and ice pops
- snacking on saltine crackers to dull any metal tastes
- eating spicy foods to numb weird tastes
- consuming sour foods and beverages, such as pickles and green apples
- drinking citrus juices
- choosing foods marinated in vinegar
You can also opt for plastic cutlery over metal cutlery. Staying well hydrated with fluid intake can also help prevent dry mouth.
Oral hygiene can also go a long way in terms of keeping bad tastes at bay (and keeping your gums and teeth healthy). In addition to brushing and flossing your teeth, you can gently brush your tongue to help get rid of any lingering metal tastes.
A gentle mouthwash or saltwater rinse can also help.
While dysgeusia can be a sign of an underlying health problem in some people, it’s not likely a concern when caused by pregnancy. The metallic taste experienced by many pregnant women isn’t harmful, and it doesn’t usually persist for the entire pregnancy.
Like many other pregnancy symptoms, dysgeusia will eventually go away on its own.
If you can’t stand the metallic taste, discuss dietary changes and other remedies with your doctor. This is especially important if the taste is so bad that you’re having trouble eating.