Mouth Ulcers in Pregnancy – Reasons, Signs & Treatment

Mouth Ulcers During Pregnancy

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sabiha Anjum (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
View more Gynecologist/Obstetrician Our Panel of Experts

Pregnancy is a challenging phase and may bring about uncomfortable changes like mouth ulcers. Due to the lowered strength of the immune system and hormonal imbalances, mouth ulcers or canker sores in pregnancy can commonly affect women. These small, painful mouth ulcers can cause discomfort while eating or speaking. While generally harmless, they can be managed with gentle care and, if severe, should be discussed with a healthcare provider. In this article, we will take a look at the causes behind these ulcers and some natural remedies to treat them. Let’s learn about pregnancy and mouth sores.

What Are Mouth Ulcers?

These open sores ulcers also known as cold sores or Aphthous stomatitis, are small white or yellow spots present in and around the mouth that are surrounded by a circle of red. They can occur anytime during pregnancy.

Types of Mouth Ulcers

It may come as a surprise, but mouth ulcers also have types.

1. Minor Mouth Ulcers

This type is very common during pregnancy. Minor mouth ulcers usually measure approximately 2-9 mm. They may occur at the base of the mouth, and on the gums or tongue. For pregnant women, mouth and gum ulcers may take up to 10 days to heal, whereas tongue ulcers may take up to 12 days. Most of the time, they go away on their own.

2. Major Mouth Ulcers

Major mouth ulcers are quite uncommon in pregnant women. They have a diameter of about 10 mm and may take several weeks or months to heal. They may appear on the surface of the tongue, gums, base of the mouth and even in the throat. These ulcers can leave scars and be extremely painful. These ulcers should be treated by a doctor.

3. Herpetiform Ulcers

This type of ulcer is more a virus than a sore, it has a very small diameter of about 1 mm. These ulcer spots usually pop out in multiple places in clusters of dozens. It takes 2 or 3 weeks to heal and may leave behind a scar.


Ulcers can manifest anytime during pregnancy. If you know why they happen, prevention and cure become easy.

1. Stress

Stress is one of the main culprits of mouth ulcers.

2. Diet

An imbalanced diet that lacks essential vitamins like vitamin B12 and minerals like zinc or iron can also cause mouth ulcers.

3. Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation and stress can cause hormonal and chemical imbalances in the body that have many side effects including mouth ulcers.

4. Change in Immunity

A weak immune system can cause an outbreak of mouth ulcers.

5. Hormonal Changes

A rapid change in hormones can alter the chemical composition of the body leading to mouth ulcers.

women sitting on chairSymptoms

The most common symptom of a mouth ulcer is the wound inside the mouth. You can identify ulcers during pregnancy with symptoms like:

  • May get a fever
  • Itchiness at the site of the ulcer
  • A burning pain inside the mouth, especially on the tongue and base of the mouth
  • Bad breath or mouth odour
  • Difficulty in eating food and drinking liquids
  • Difficulty in speaking as painful sores make talking uncomfortable.

Mouth ulcers during the third trimester of pregnancy can also cause a loss of energy, lethargy.


Wondering what is the right canker sore pregnancy treatment? You can treat mouth ulcers both naturally and with medication. Before using any medication, consult your gynaecologist and understand the risks if any. Ointments are the best way to treat ulcers but some contain steroids that may impact the pregnancy.

treatmentNatural Ways to Treat Mouth Ulcers

Apart from allopathic medicines, natural remedies for mouth ulcers also exist.

  • Turmeric– Turmeric is a great natural antiseptic and is anti-inflammatory too. It is a commonly used ingredient in Asian foods and is known in parts of India, Thailand, and Sri-Lanka for treating ulcers. There is no certainty how the effect of turmeric on ulcers has not been studied extensively outside this region. 

  • Salt Licorice – Licorice root is an impressive natural ingredient that has a large number of health benefits. The Nords believe that the sweet licorice purifies the digestive tract and salt licorice purifies the blood. Icelanders and Norwegians believe that salt liquorice is also a great cure for mouth ulcers, there are no studies that back this up yet. 

Licorice rootHow to Prevent Mouth Ulcers?

These oral hygiene tips can help to prevent ulcers.

  • Keep yourself hydrated and sleep well.
  • Avoid spicy foods.
  • Use mouthwash to kill bad bacteria.
  • Floss regularly.
  • Take vitamin B12 supplements if advised.

women drinking water

Dental hygiene and a good diet will help support and improve the immune system. Managing stress is also an important factor in combating mouth ulcers when pregnant. Doing prenatal yoga and spending some time meditating is an excellent way to balance out your hormones temporarily as well as managing stress long term.

When to Consult the Doctor?

You must see a doctor in the following cases:

  • Persistent or severe mouth ulcers
  • Signs of infection like fever or pus are present


1. Can Mouth Ulcers Be a Sign of Sexually Transmitted Infection While Pregnant?

Certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs), like herpes, have the potential to lead to mouth ulcers. Oral herpes may develop when the herpes virus type 2 (HSV-2) is transmitted to the mouth through oral sexual contact. If concerns about STIs arise, it is imperative to consult a doctor for guidance and assessment.

2. Can Mouth Sore Be a Sign of Oral Cancer in Pregnancy?

Mouth ulcers can be a symptom of oral cancers, which are identified by the presence of lumps or ulcers that may appear pale, dark red, or discoloured. This condition is typically accompanied by additional indicators like speech challenges, swollen lymph nodes, trouble swallowing, weight loss, numbness, loose teeth, and halitosis.

3. Can Mouth Ulcers During Pregnancy Indicate an Autoimmune Disorder?

Conditions like Lupus or Behcet disease, which are autoimmune disorders, can result in the development of mouth sores in pregnancy. A blood test can confirm the presence of these disorders.

4. Can Mouth Ulcers Be a Sign of a Bacterial or Viral Infection While Pregnant?

Mouth ulcers can signal a bacterial or viral infection, like hand, foot, and mouth disease. This condition is often accompanied by additional symptoms, including fever, headache, reduced appetite, rash, blisters on extremities, and a sore throat.

Talk to your doctor before starting a new routine, implementing any alternative form of treatment or integrating new activities and foods into your diet. Never exceed dosages of prescribed medications or self-medicate. Canker sores and pregnancy together are not a serious health ailment that affect pregnancy. With the right treatment, an ulcer-free mouth is indeed possible.


1. Oral cancer;;

2. Herpes – oral;;

3. Mouth ulcers;;

4. Mouth ulcers;;

5. Mouth sores;;

6. Hand-foot-mouth disease;;

7. Canker Sores;;

8. Management of Aphthous Ulcers;;

Also Read:

Dry Mouth in Pregnancy
Causes of Cold Sore while Pregnant
Treatment of Bleeding Gums during Pregnancy

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