Pregnancy and Oral Health

Premature Birth and Low Birth Weight Babies

An expectant mom's gum disease may indicate an increased probability of a pre-term birth. Did you know that pregnant women with chronic periodontal (gum) disease during the second trimester are up to seven times more likely to give birth prematurely?

One in Eight Babies Is Born Too Early

Unfortunately, almost 500,000 babies in the United States are born prematurely, before the 37th completed week.3 It takes a tremendous toll on families as premature babies fight to survive and may have ongoing health challenges throughout their lives.

Test your knowledge of oral health and its potential implications with this quiz.

Oral Health Before, During and After Pregnancy is Important

Receiving professional dental care during pregnancy is important. Yet, the American Dental Association (ADA) says that most pregnant women will not visit their dentist - even if they are having dental problems. Dental treatment is usually safe for pregnant women. Of course, if you are pregnant, may be pregnant, or are attempting to become pregnant, inform your dentist. Your dentist will know the appropriate precautions.

Up to 14% of women develop diabetes during pregnancy, called "gestational diabetes."4 Diabetes can hurt you and your baby. Maintaining your oral health contributes to a healthy pregnancy and birth and may even help your baby avoid future poor health.

Elevated ovarian hormones during pregnancy are associated with increased gum inflammation. Your gums can become red, puffy or tender and may bleed when you brush. See your dentist during your pregnancy and be sure to mention if you've noticed these symptoms. Your dentist may recommend an additional cleaning during your second trimester or early third trimester to help you avoid problems.

Gum inflammation plays a possible role in the development of pre-eclampsia, a serious condition affecting approximately 5% of U.S. pregnancies.5 When a mother suffers from pre-eclampsia, the blood supply to her baby is reduced -impacting the baby's ability to grow and be healthy.

CIGNA Dental Oral Health Maternity ProgramSM Launches on 1/1/06. Learn more.

If you are pregnant and have CIGNA medical coverage, be sure to enroll in the CIGNA HealthCare Healthy Babies® program. Learn more.

Maintaining good oral health starts early. It's important to care for your new baby's teeth and know what to look for as they grow. Learn more.

Articles and Resources

The health of your mouth may have a link to the health of your unborn baby. Learn more.

Learn about Periodontal Dangers During Pregnancy, by Dr. Miles Hall, National Dental Director for CIGNA Dental.

2Journal of the American Dental Association, July 2001 "Oral Health During Pregnancy: An Analysis of Information."
4Journal of the American Dental Association, October 2003. Coustan DR. Gestational diabetes. In: Gestational Diabetes Data Group, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestion and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health. Diabetes In America. 2nd ed. Bethesda, MD.: National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestion and Kidney Diseases; 1995: 703-17. NIH Publication 95-1468.
5Journal of Periodontology 2005, Vol. 76.