Body Odor During Pregnancy: Causes and Quick Remedies to Manage It
For some women, body odor during pregnancy becomes a real thing. Try as they might, this odor, usually quite strong, never fully goes away. Questions like is it normal to have odor during pregnancy and how to reduce this odor become things they dwell on.
I had body odor during pregnancy, so I know first-hand just how embarrassing and frustrating it can get, especially when your regular hygiene habits and deodorant are doing little or nothing to remedy the situation.
Successfully remedying the situation, however, starts with understanding how and why body odor occurs during pregnancy.
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Body Odor During Pregnancy: Facts and Causes
Few women will escape body odor during pregnancy, for the rest of us, this is just one of the many pregnancy symptoms we have to cope with, alongside others like fluctuating hormones, overactive sweat glands, and morning sickness.
These body changes, however, help to nourish your growing baby, so while they might be uncomfortable, they are very much needed.
Research has shown that your body odor getting more intense during pregnancy is caused by a few factors.
Extra Blood Supply
For one, when pregnant, your body has to supply more blood (up to 50% more) as this is needed to transport food and oxygen to your developing baby as well as your uterus.
This extra blood supply will make you feel a little warm-blooded, likely causing you to sweat a lot more, since your body will be working to keep you cool at this time.
Changes in Hormones
Body odor during pregnancy could also be caused by changes in your hormones at this time. A study conducted in 2016 found that the hormone, estrogen, works to help balance your temperature, among other things, by Increasing sweat.
You might notice more episodes of night sweats and excessive sweating anytime you fall asleep during the day.
The estrogen hormone works to lower your body temperature by increasing the body’s ability to eliminate heat through sweating.
The amino acids in red meat affect your body composition for a few hours, so when you eat this food, you can expect to smell slightly different for a while.
Other foods that produce body odor during pregnancy include seafood, which affects your sweats and vaginal discharge, veggies containing sulfur like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower which get absorbed into the bloodstream and come out as sweat (this sweat produces an unpleasant odor when it mixes with bacteria).
This smell Is also needed by your baby. Your body changes as it prepares to feed your baby upon his arrival. One of these changes is the strong smell that will act as a signal helping him locate his food source.
This smell helps direct your baby’s head in the direction of your breasts during feeding time.
Your Sense of Smell Gets Heightened
There is also the fact that your sense of smell and taste gets heightened during pregnancy.
You are likely to pick up even the tiniest whiff of any smell, and seeing as this odor is coming from you, your nose will pick it up and probably exaggerate it.
While this odor might be present, it might not be as severe as you imagine and even if it is, there are always remedies for managing it effectively.
How to Reduce Body Odor During Pregnancy
There are a few home remedies for body odors, starting from a few lifestyle changes to some more pronounced products you might need to use.
Some of these include-
- Shower as often as you feel the need for it. This might come up to three times a day, sometimes more if you can stand that many baths.
- Use a stronger deodorant (In my case, I switched to my husband’s brand, and while there is no scientific proof men’s deodorants are stronger, this worked for me just fine. Alternatively, you could just switch to the Lume deodorant, which manages to keep armpit sweats and smells under control every single time.
- Switch to loose-fitting clothes, which will allow air to get to your skin a lot more.
- Wear a lot more breathable fabric.
- Eat a lot less smelly foods. You want to find out which foods cause you to sweat more and avoid them.
- Eat a nutritious and balanced diet.
- Drink up to stay hydrated. Water helps flush toxins from your body, which in turn reduces body odor.
Frequently Asked Questions About Body Odor in Pregnancy
Why am I so sensitive to smells during pregnancy?
Changes in your sense of smell (and taste) during pregnancy is caused by the estrogen hormone which becomes super active at this time.
This heightened sense of smell, also called hyperosmia should start to subside enough though, and should be gone as your pregnancy progresses.
In the rare case it lingers still it should disappear soon after delivery.
What Causes Body Odor During Each Trimester of Pregnancy?
A change in your hormones is responsible for an increased odor during the first trimester of pregnancy. For the second trimester, most cases of it result from an increased blood supply, while factors like weight gain, skinfold, and a change in diet are likely culprits of odor during the third trimester.
What Can I Eat To Stop Body Odor?
Avoiding foods with such pungent smells like garlic as well as foods with a high sulfur content can help manage body odor in pregnancy.
Other foods you should include in your diet include:
- Citrus fruits
- Herbal teas
Does Body Odor Go Away After Pregnancy?
Body odor in pregnancy is temporary and as your hormones start to normalize after you give birth, you should expect a few things to return to normal, one of which will be your body odor.
This takes a while for some women though, and while the first few months might be tough, you should expect complete normalcy within a year.
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