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Is it normal to have a metallic taste in my mouth during pregnancy?
Yes. It's called dysgeusia (pronounced dis-GYOO-zee-a). It's pretty common in the first trimester, and typically subsides in the second. You might describe the taste as unpleasantly bitter, sour, burnt, or salty – or like you've been sucking on pennies. Some people believe that having a metallic taste in your mouth early in pregnancy predicts your baby's gender, but there's no evidence to support that.
What causes the bad taste in my mouth during pregnancy?
A surge in hormones in early pregnancy can heighten your sense of smell, and this is intimately connected with the sense of taste. The most likely cause is estrogen, which rises dramatically in the first trimester. There's some evidence that this increased sensitivity to bitter tastes is an evolutionary response, making you wary of foods that may be poisonous.
How can I get rid of the metallic taste in my mouth during pregnancy?
Here are a few strategies to combat that coppery tang:
- Practice good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing frequently can freshen the taste in your mouth. Brush your tongue as well. Gargling with a mild solution made of water and salt or water and baking soda may also help.
- Choose tart, acidic foods because these can offset a bitter, metallic taste. Try drinking lemonade (or squeeze lemons into water or seltzer), eating citrus fruits like grapefruit or oranges, or sucking on lemon candy. Sour or vinegary foods like pickles can also help mask metal mouth.
- Chew sugarless mint gum to change the taste in your mouth and stimulate saliva production.
- Try eating saltine crackers to dull the metallic taste.
- Use nonmetallic eating utensils – no sense introducing more metal into your mouth!
- Ask your provider about changing your prenatal vitamin. The high iron content in some supplements can make dysgeusia worse.
Dysgeusia may make you pickier about the food you consume. Just do your best to eat as healthfully as you can – even if that means lots of sour pickles and lemonade for a while. The good news is that taste aversions generally go away by the second trimester.