Metallic Taste During Pregnancy, Why Does It Occur?

A metallic taste is a very common symptom in early pregnancy. We'll tell you why it occurs and how you can cope.
Metallic Taste During Pregnancy, Why Does It Occur?

Last update: 11 October, 2022

Feeling a metallic taste in your mouth is one of the most common symptoms in early pregnancy. This phenomenon called dysgeusia occurs in many pregnant women.

It’s an alteration in taste that produces the perception of an unpleasant and persistent metallic taste in the mouth. Keep reading and find out why it occurs and what you can do to reduce this annoyance.

What is dysgeusia?

As we already anticipated, dysgeusia is a change in the sense of taste that can be perceived as an unpleasant and prolonged metallic taste.

This symptom is common among pregnant women, who describe it as the sensation of having some metal in their mouth.

In general, this symptom appears during the first weeks of pregnancy and lasts until the end of the first trimester, around weeks 12 to 14. This is due to its close relationship with the hormonal levels of this stage.

However, there are women who experience dysgeusia throughout pregnancy, especially those who are expecting more than one baby.

A pregnant woman refusing a plate of cookies.

The causes of a metallic taste during pregnancy

As we mentioned in the previous section, a metallic taste in the mouth occurs as a consequence of the hormonal changes of pregnancy. Specifically, due to the action exerted by estrogens on the taste buds of the tongue.

During pregnancy, these sensory organs of the mouth increase their sensitivity, and this is usually accompanied by an increase in the perception of odors.

In addition, the difficulty with digesting certain foods and beverages, heartburn, and stomach reflux, also contribute to the development of dysgeusia. For this reason, women who suffer from nausea and vomiting are usually more prone to it.

Besides the discomfort, it’s a harmless symptom. The biggest problem with this taste alteration is that it prevents women from eating a balanced and complete diet.

Other causes of a metallic taste in pregnancy

In addition to hormonal issues, this unpleasant sensation can be caused by the following causes:

  • Poor oral hygiene: Neglect of oral cleaning causes an accumulation of bacterial plaque, tartar, and increases the chances of developing certain diseases such as cavities, gingivitis, and periodontitis. Both bacterial growth and infections in the mouth can be responsible for the bad taste.
  • Medications: The use of some drugs such as antibiotics, antidepressants, hormonal pills, or vitamin supplements can also cause a metallic taste during pregnancy. Likewise, the use of certain antiseptics, such as chlorhexidine.
  • Allergies or infections: Suffering from nasal congestion, allergies, or infections of the airways, can be the cause of the bad taste.
  • Systemic diseases, such as kidney, liver, or diabetes pathologies.
  • Cancer treatments (rare among pregnant women).
  • Chemical Exposure: Overexposure to certain heavy metals, such as mercury or lead, can also cause the metal taste.

If you’re not sure if you’re pregnant and you notice a metallic taste in your mouth, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor. This way, the origin of the problem can be investigated and the pregnancy confirmed or not.

What to do if you sense a metallic taste during pregnancy?

Having a metallic taste during pregnancy isn’t a serious problem that you should be concerned about. Besides the discomfort that it may generate, it’s one of the many changes of this stage.

Just the same, here are some tips to cope with this unpleasant feeling:

  • Maintain proper dental hygiene: It’s important to brush your teeth, gums, and tongue frequently. For that, you can use fluoride toothpaste and supplement with dental floss and mouthwashes. In this way, you take care of your oral health and improve the taste in your mouth.
  • Gargle: Use mint-flavored mouthwashes or rinses with warm water and baking soda or salt at least twice a day. This way, the oral pH is regulated.
  • Chew sugar-free, mint-flavored gum.
  • Drink plenty of water: Hydration during pregnancy is essential. Drinking at least 50 ounces of water a day helps to keep your mouth moist and improve the bad taste.
  • Consume acidic or cold foods: Drinking very cold water, a natural citrus juice, or sucking on an acidic candy can reduce the metallic sensation. In any case, it’s important not to consume them in excess so as not to damage the dental tissues.
A pregnant woman eating citrus fruits.

An annoying symptom that usually goes away on its own

The metallic taste in pregnancy generally disappears over the coming months, although sometimes it’s very annoying and limits normal intake. For this reason, it’s important that you discuss it with your doctor or your midwife.

While waiting for your baby, there will be pleasant sensations and others not so much, but experiencing them all is part of creating a life.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.