Many people experience taste changes during pregnancy. You might develop new cravings and hate food that you used to love.
Up to 93% of women experience taste changes during pregnancy. One of those changes may include having a metallic taste in the mouth. Termed “metal mouth” this pregnancy symptom can wreck the taste of food and make it difficult to eat.
In this guide, you’ll learn what metal mouth is and 15 tips to mask the taste.
Pregnancy with Metallic Taste (Dysgeusia)
During pregnancy, especially during the early weeks, many people experience a metallic taste in their mouth. This common pregnancy symptom has a medical name: Dysgeusia. It’s also referred to as “metal mouth.”
Dysgeusia may happen even if you’re not eating. People describe the taste as having coins in their mouth or licking metal. Dysgeusia can also make foods taste sour.
People with metal mouth may be drawn to foods that mask the metallic taste. They may also begin to hate foods they normally love because it amplifies the metallic flavor. For example, Dr. Robyn Horsager-Boehrer describes that although she’s always been a coffee drinker, she couldn’t stand the taste anymore during pregnancy. After giving birth though, coffee tasted great again.
Some people think having a metallic taste during pregnancy indicates baby sex, specifically, having a baby girl. There is no evidence to support that and it’s believed to be an old wives’ tale.
Metal mouth may be an annoying symptom of pregnancy, but it doesn’t typically signal anything wrong.
Although a metallic taste in your mouth in pregnancy is normal, you should contact your doctor if it’s causing trouble eating.
First Trimester & Early Pregnancy Metallic Taste
A metallic taste is common in early pregnancy when your hormones are rising. As they lessen in the second trimester, your symptoms should subside, although it’s not a guarantee.
Second Trimester Dysgeusia
Although metal mouth is gone for most people by the second trimester, sometimes it can hang around. It may subside or continue into the third trimester.
Third Trimester Dysgeusia
You might be wondering why you have a metallic taste in your mouth during pregnancy in the third trimester. Most of the time, this symptom goes away after the first months. However; for some people, dysgeusia lasts throughout pregnancy and only goes away after birth. Similar to morning sickness, some people have it only for the first trimester while others have it the entire journey.
You can expect your tastebuds to return to normal after you’ve given birth and your hormones subside.
What Causes Metallic Taste During Pregnancy?
Experts aren’t exactly sure what factor—or combination of factors—causes a metallic taste during pregnancy. Below are a few possibilities.
- Changing hormones. Most experts say that changing hormones are likely responsible for the metal taste in your mouth during pregnancy. Namely, estrogen could be to blame. As estrogen levels change throughout pregnancy, you may notice your tastes changing too.
- The smell-taste connection. Although it might be surprising, smell affects how food tastes. Without your ability to smell, you won’t enjoy the taste as much. As your smell changes throughout pregnancy, so might your taste. This theory might help explain why metal mouth can be worse at times than others.
- Nutrient deficiencies. This is an unlikely cause if you’re taking your prenatal vitamin. Still, zinc and vitamin B deficiencies can cause taste changes. For example, one study showed that when patients took a zinc supplement, their dysgeusia improved. However, other research has challenged this, concluding that zinc levels are unlikely to play a role in metal mouth in pregnancy.
- Other health conditions and medications. If you’re pregnant and experiencing a metallic taste in the mouth, it’s likely a symptom of pregnancy. However, metal mouth can also be caused by an underlying health condition, like hypothyroidism. Taste can also be related to dental problems or medications. If you suspect that any of these could be the cause, talk to your healthcare provider.
How to Get Rid of Dysgeusia in Pregnancy
While you can’t stop dysgeusia from happening, you can take steps to limit and mask the metallic taste.
Choose Acidic and Tart Foods and Beverages
Acidic and tart foods can also help mask a metal taste in mouth in pregnancy. Consider adding these to your diet:
- Green apples
- Lemon juice
- Salt and vinegar chips
- Citrus fruit juices
- Carbonated beverages
- Kefir beverages
Acidic meal ideas to battle metal taste in your mouth in pregnancy include:
- Meat and vegetables marinated in vinegar
- Meat and vegetables marinated in lemon, lime or orange juice
- Pickled charcuterie board
- Cheese and crackers
- Tomato-based pastas
*Acid can worsen acid reflux or GERD, so take caution if you already experience symptoms.
Eat Spicy Foods
Spicy foods can also help hide the metallic taste in your mouth in pregnancy. Use some hot sauce or try these food ideas:
- Chicken curry
- Jerk chicken
- Buffalo chicken wings
- Pad Thai
- Cajun pasta
*Spicy food can worsen acid reflux or GERD, so take caution if you already experience symptoms.
Try Sugar-Free Gum
Sugar-free gum not only gives your mouth a different flavor, but the chewing action can stimulate saliva production. Saliva can help wash away the gross taste.
Try Sugar-Free Mints or Candies
Like gum, mints, and candies can also stimulate saliva production. If your metal mouth affects you regularly, keep a few in your pocket or purse so they’re always on hand.
Lollipops can also help wash away the metallic taste.
Try Sour Candies
Other people find that sour foods, like candies, better mask the metallic taste. Suck on some sour gummy worms and see if the flavor overpowers the metal taste.
Some people discover that popsicles and cold food help mute the metal taste in your mouth in pregnancy. Pick some up at the grocery store or consider making your own using molds and your favorite juices or smoothies. Even sucking on ice cubes may help.
Eat Saltine Crackers
Saltine crackers can help mask the taste of metal mouth. But be careful—it’s easy to rack up your sodium intake when snacking on salted crackers.
Avoid Metal Cutlery
If you already taste metal, don’t add more to your mouth. Instead, use plastic or wooden cutlery.
Try Switching Your Prenatal Vitamin
The iron contained in some prenatal vitamins can make the metallic taste worse. Switching brands could limit dysgeusia. Talk to your doctor for recommendations.
Prevent Dry Mouth
Having a dry mouth can make the metallic taste in pregnancy even worse. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids (as mentioned, citrus juices help mask the taste).
Drink Flavored Water
While keeping hydrated is important, flavorless water is unlikely to mask the metal taste in your mouth. On the other hand, it’s not healthy to sip on sodas and juice all day.
Here’s a good solution instead: Try flavored water. Choose a sugarless brand or make your own by adding a few drops of lemon or lime juice to your water. The acid contained in lemon and lime juice can also help overpower the metal taste.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Finally, practicing good oral hygiene can help limit dysgeusia. This can help freshen your mouth, washing away the metallic taste. Make sure your oral hygiene routine includes:
- Brushing frequently
- Flossing frequently
- Brushing your tongue
- Optional: Make a salt and baking soda gargle to take away bad taste.
Carry Mini Mouth Wash
If metal mouth is affecting you throughout the day, carry a mini mouthwash in your purse. When you’re at work or running around, just pop into the bathroom and rinse out your mouth to get rid of the taste.
See a Dietician
Dieticians are trained to suggest meals and foods for a variety of health problems. If you’re having trouble eating, hire or ask your doctor to pair you with a dietician. They can help you choose foods that mask rather than worsen the metal taste. This may be necessary if it’s causing you to miss meals, preventing you from getting necessary nutrients.
Many people experience a metallic taste in the mouth in pregnancy. This symptom is annoying but typically harmless, likely caused by hormones. For most, metal mouth subsides by the second trimester. However, it can last throughout pregnancy.
While you can’t stop dysgeusia, there are a variety of things you can try to mask and limit the flavor. Eating spicy and acidic foods can distract your tastebuds while chewing gum can encourage saliva to wash away the flavor. If dysgeusia is affecting what you eat, talk to your doctor about how to get proper nutrition. They may recommend a dietician, who can work around your food aversions and help you remain healthy.
P.S. Do You Have a Fetal Doppler?
A fetal doppler is a handheld device that detects your baby’s heartbeat and amplifies it through a speaker. Parents say hearing their baby before birth creates a magical bonding experience.