Aphtae are small wounds in the mucous membranes, usually on the gums or oral mucosa, but also in the genital area. In medical terminology, these wounds are also called inflammatory erosions or ulcers. They are yellowish in colour and surrounded by a rather reddish edge.
The yellowish coating is fibrin, a protein that is produced on wounds. Aphtae can occur individually or in groups. They are not an independent disease, but rather a possible appearance that can occur in the context of various diseases. Aphthae can also occur during pregnancy.
How dangerous are aphtae during pregnancy?
First of all, aphthae are no cause for concern, even during pregnancy. They can occur for many different reasons. Many of these causes, such as stress or food intolerance, are harmless.
Although aphthae itself is very unpleasant for the pregnant woman because it causes burning pain, especially when eating and drinking, there is no danger for the child or the pregnancy. Harmless infections can also be hidden behind aphthae. Mostly these are simple colds caused by various viruses.
Such infections are also no problem for pregnancy. They neither affect the growth of the child negatively, nor do they endanger the health of the pregnant woman. More rarely, other diseases are hidden behind aphtae during pregnancy.
Especially in the case of recurrent aphthae, one should think of a causal underlying disease, such as a herpes infection. In this case one speaks of stomatitis aphtosa. This is characterised by very painful aphthae in the mouth area, herpes blisters on the lips, swelling of the lymph nodes and high fever.
However, such stomatitis aphtosa occurs in adulthood almost only in people with a weakened immune system, for example due to cancer or HIV infection. Therefore, in this case, a more detailed examination of the pregnant woman should be carried out. However, such a herpes infection is not a danger to the unborn child, unlike, for example, a genital herpes of the mother.
Very rarely, autoimmune diseases are hidden behind recurrent aphthae. One example is the chronic inflammatory bowel disease Crohn’s disease. These diseases also do not have a direct damaging effect on pregnancy.
The development of the child is not disturbed, so that malformations would occur. However, the integrity of the pregnancy also depends on the general condition of the pregnant woman concerned and the severity of the underlying disease. The aphthae as such do not represent a danger.
What can I do about aphthae on the tongue?
The tongue is very sensitive, therefore aphthae on the tongue are also felt as particularly unpleasant. Especially during pregnancy, the sensation of pain and general sensitivity is often particularly easily irritated. So what can be done about aphthae on the tongue?
There are various preparations to alleviate the symptoms, which are available in pharmacies. However, not every preparation may be used during pregnancy. Non-alcoholic products, such as the BloXaphte® range of products, are harmless (see section “Which products may be used?”). Furthermore, if aphtae on the tongue is present, one should avoid particularly spicy or acidic foods. Even very hard foods, such as rusks or dry bread, can irritate the aphtae and cause more pain.