Jaw Pain During Pregnancy – Top Causes and Tips to Manage

6 min read

Written by Ambili Kartha

Ambili Kartha

jaw pain during pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time of excitement and waiting for all the would-be mothers. But it is also a time of manifold discomforts. Many problems can occur in your body that never existed before pregnancy. Jaw pain during pregnancy is one such discomfort that can lead to a hungry stomach and sleepless nights.

Pregnancy can induce jaw pain mainly because of hormonal changes, TMJ disorders, and calcium deficiency in the body. Timely diagnosis of jaw pain is thus important to rectify the underlying reason behind it. Here are some useful tips for you to treat jaw pain during pregnancy.  

In This Article

Top 7 Causes of Jaw Pain During Pregnancy

A lot of factors can induce jaw pain during pregnancy. While the inevitable hormonal rush is one of them, there are a few more factors that can potentially contribute to jaw pain during pregnancy. 

Here are a few causes of jaw pain during pregnancy

1. Hormonal Changes

During pregnancy, a lot of estrogen and relaxing hormones are released to prepare the bone joints for childbearing as well as childbirth. According to various studies, this relaxation of jaw joints can sometimes cause jaw pain during pregnancy. 

2. Deficiency of Calcium

Your body will require a lot of calcium to build the bones of your baby, especially during the second and third trimesters. But if there is not enough calcium in the blood, then the body arranges it from the bones of the mother. As a result, a calcium deficiency can weaken the bones of the mother and cause jaw pain.

[Read : Calcium During Pregnancy]

3. TMJ Disorder

According to the NIH report, TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint disorder occurs due to edema or swelling of the body. Swelling of legs and joints is again a common problem in pregnancy that occurs due to fluid retention. If swelling occurs in the face or neck region then jaw pain can happen due to extra stretch on the jaw joints.   

4. Sleeping in One Posture

During pregnancy, doctors ask you to sleep on your sides. But sleeping on one particular side for a long time can cause muscle strain and jaw pain.

5. Frequent Vomiting

Nausea or morning sickness is a common thing during the first trimester of pregnancy. But this regular vomiting can put a lot of pressure on your jaw joints when you vigorously expel food from your stomach. 

6. Bruxism or Grinding of Teeth

If you have the tendency to clench or grind your teeth in anger or stress then this can arise jaw pain. 

7. Insomnia

Sleeplessness is another common problem during pregnancy which can induce problems like muscle strain and joint pains.

[Read : Insomnia During Pregnancy]

Symptoms of Jaw Pain During Pregnancy

woman looking at mirror

You will feel some pain and discomfort around your jaw joints if you suffer from jaw pain during pregnancy.

Here are a few additional symptoms of jaw pain during pregnancy 

  • Swelling around the jaw joints
  • Soreness in the jaw muscles
  • Sleep disturbance due to pain and discomfort in the jaw
  • Problem with chewing food
  • Difficulty in opening the jaw for talking, yawning, or drinking
  • Headache due to jaw pain
  • Ear pain along with jaw pain
  • Tension in the face and neck 

Symptoms Of TMJ Disorder During Pregnancy

TMJ disorder

The symptoms of jaw pain due to TMJ disorder or due to any other reason are quite similar. But in the case of TMJ jaw disorder, the pain will be more specific to the region of the temporomandibular jaw joint. The additional symptoms of TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorder in pregnancy are

  • Jaw joint clicking
  • Jaw joint locking
  • Popping sound when you move the jaw

How are TMJ Disorder and Jaw Pain Diagnosed During Pregnancy?

In case of TMJ disorder or any type of jaw pain, you will at first have to inform your gynecologist or a dentist. There will be no need for a special diagnostic test. In most cases, the doctor will treat you according to the symptoms you have. The doctor will check the movement of your jaw, clicking or popping sounds if any, etc. 

Though X-rays should be avoided during pregnancy, in severe cases the dentist can conduct a panoramic X-ray to get a view of the jaw joints and teeth. In that case, you will have to wear a lead thyroid collar and lead apron to protect your baby from harmful X-rays. 

Tips To Manage Jaw Pain During Pregnancy

pregnant woman with a glass of juice

After the diagnosis, the doctor may prescribe you a few medicines to subdue the severeness of the jaw pain. But you need to focus on natural ways to reduce and repel jaw pain during pregnancy. Here are some tips to manage jaw pain during pregnancy

1. Do Gentle Massage and Stretching

By slowly massaging the jaw region you can get relief from the jaw pain. You can try stretching your tongue forward and holding it for a few seconds. This will relieve your jaw muscles.

2. Try Breathing Techniques

You can sit for meditation and do pranayam to relax your body and mind from stress and tension if these are the reasons behind your pains in life. 

[Read : Pranayama During Pregnancy]

3. Stay Active to Prevent Edema

Go for a walk, and try to do your daily chores by yourself as this will prevent joint swelling. Stretch your legs, and rotate your ankles, wrists, and neck regularly to let the bodily fluid circulate properly.

4. Eat Liquid Food

If chewing is arousing your jaw pain then shifting towards a liquid diet for some days will be good for you. You can pressure cook your meal and make a fine paste to have it without chewing.

5. Go For Acupuncture

You can take the help of acupuncture to reduce jaw as well as any other joint pain. But consult with your doctor first as certain acupuncture points are not safe during pregnancy. 

6. Medicines

Based on the severity of your condition, and keeping your pregnancy in mind, doctors may prescribe you medications or pain relief gels to reduce jaw pain. 

Treatment Options For TMJ Disorder And Jaw Pain During Pregnancy

In case of jaw pain due to TMJ disorder, your doctor can provide you with treatments such as

1. Mouthguard

The mouthguard will prevent your upper and lower jaw from direct contact and give you comfort against jaw pain.

2. Oral Bite Plates

Oral bite plates function as a cushion in between your teeth to reduce muscle tightness and pain.

3. Cold Therapy

Apply a cold water bag to compress the swollen jaw area. You can take a cold water bath to get relief from joint swellings all over the body. 

4. Anti-inflammatory Medicines

If the swelling in the jaw joint is severe then you may have to take a few medicines to reduce the swelling.

When Should You Consider Seeing a Doctor?

Though a little bit of jaw pain is bearable and curable with home remedies, you need to seek medical help if it gets severe. You need to consult a doctor if the tenderness and pain of the jaw is persistent over 4 days, or if you cannot open your jaw. In case of oral infection and broken tooth, you will require surgical help to cure the pain. 

So we can conclude that pregnancy has enough reasons to induce jaw pain. But you can prevent it by staying active and doing regular stretching and exercise. Even if jaw pain occurs, try the above tips to handle it without depending on medicines. Do not take painkillers without consulting your doctor.


1. How Long Does Jaw Pain Last in Pregnancy?

Your jaw pain can last for a few hours to a few days to a few weeks. It depends on the cause of the jaw pain. In pregnant women, TMJ disorder-related jaw pain usually cures after childbirth.

2. Is Jaw Pain a Sign of Labor?

Usually, jaw pain is not related to labor pain. But according to the report of NIH, in rare cases, Pneumomediastinum or the presence of air within mediastinum can cause jaw pain and chest pain during labor.  

3. Can Preeclampsia Cause Jaw Pain During Pregnancy?

No, jaw pain is not related to preeclampsia. Jaw pain is not a symptom of preeclampsia or we can say preeclampsia does not cause jaw pain.

Read Also: Dental Problems and Treatments During Pregnancy

Ambili Kartha,B. Sc Zoology (St Xavier’s college for women)

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