Sweat Smell Changes During Pregnancy – Why Do I Smell Different?

Sweat Smell Changes During Pregnancy

Article by Jessica Pierce – Registered Nurse & Nationally Registered Paramedic

Sometimes, being pregnant just stinks – and I don’t only mean that figuratively.

As if the nausea, bloating, haywire hormones, and constipation aren’t enough, you’ve noticed your favorite deodorant just doesn’t seem to be cutting it anymore. Pregnant body odor is one of the many common afflictions that expecting mothers might experience while baby is growing1.

What’s up with body odor during pregnancy? In this article, I’m exploring why being pregnant can cause you to smell differently, common causes and remedies for this condition, and how to cope with accompanying symptoms like increased sweating.

This article is not a substitute for medical advice.

What Causes Body Odor During Pregnancy?

Pregnant women experience a number of physical changes that can affect body odor. Firstly, hormones like estrogen and progesterone rise dramatically while you’re pregnant. This can increase your body temperature, which leads to more sweating and more body odor.

Another thing most pregnant women can expect is increased blood flow to the skin during pregnancy. One of the less pleasant side effects of this increased blood supply is greater circulation to the sweat glands – meaning more sweating.

Skin folds in the armpits, breasts, and groin can trap odor causing bacteria, which also increases your smell. And what does that beautiful baby bump mean? More skin, and more places to trap sweat2.

What’s Up With Night Sweats?

The natural changes in hormonal levels can also lead to night sweats during pregnancy. This can include sensations of intense heat while sleeping, facial redness, and waking up to sweat soaked sheets and pajamas.

While it’s not particularly dangerous, frequent night sweats can be distressing, embarrassing and disrupt your sleep. Sometimes sleeping in lightweight pajamas with a fan on can help, but if the condition persists, it might be a good idea to discuss the issue with your doctor.

Why Does My Body Odor Smell So Bad While Pregnant?

Why Does My Sweat Smell Different When Pregnant?

Sweat changes during pregnancy (like many other undesirable pregnancy symptoms) are typically related to your body’s natural hormonal changes. A change in body odour can also be related to your body’s enhanced olfaction, i.e. sense of smell, during pregnancy.

A heightened sense of smell is often par for the course during pregnancy. Combine this with the aroma sensitivity associated with morning sickness, and even the mildest of scents can become offensive.

So there may in fact be a chance that you don’t actually smell that bad! It might just be that your nose is a little extra sensitive during this very unique time.

If your partner or friends and family are noticing you smell a bit more pungent than usual, though, you could be experiencing one of the many natural side effects of pregnancy – increased body odor.

Why Does My Body Odor Smell So Bad While Pregnant?

Many things can cause increased body odor during pregnancy. Scientists have confirmed that sweat glands in your groin and underarms can become hyperactive during pregnancy, and sweat from these regions is more likely to have a foul smell.

During pregnancy, your body’s basal metabolic rate increases. Your body temperature rises in response to this change, making you feel hotter. Many women experience night sweats during pregnancy along with other symptoms like vaginal discharge and vaginal odor.

Hormones affect nearly every system in your body, and the skin is no exception. This is why it’s so important to choose skincare products wisely, and take extra good care of yourself while pregnant.

Changes in vaginal discharge or odor are very common during pregnancy. It’s always a good idea to mention any changes in your discharge or your “down there” scent to your OB, however!

When In Pregnancy Does The Body Odor Change?

Body odor changes can occur at any point during pregnancy, or even while breastfeeding. They can be more noticeable during the first trimester, when your sense of smell first begins to change.

Body odor can also increase with excess weight gain during the third trimester. Odor causing bacteria and fungus can accumulate in skin folds of the breasts and armpits, which causes bad body odour.

Most women see a return to their normal sense of smell within weeks to a few months of baby’s birth. If you are still experiencing a strong body smell several months after having your baby, it may be a good idea to talk to your doctor.

Body Odor Change In Pregnancy

How Do You Get Rid Of Pregnancy Odor?

Here are a few tips and home remedies to minimize body odor and excessive sweating during pregnancy:

It may be tempting to sprinkle some talcum powder into the bikini area to minimize sweating and odor, but the safety of this product is still hotly debated. Stick to washing your body with a gentle soap and warm to cool water, and avoid heavily perfumed feminine care products.

Choose a natural deodorant, and consider avoiding antiperspirants – these block sweat glands in the skin, which can lead to increased body odor over time.

Drink lots of water to help flush out toxins that can be excreted in sweat, leading to odors.

When possible, keep your home at a cool temperature. Take cool showers, and dry yourself off with a clean towel each time you shower or bathe.

Wear loose clothing made from natural fibers. Some experts recommend adding some white vinegar to laundry during the wash cycle to kill odor causing bacteria.

To minimize the effects of your own body odor, wear a light scented perfume or body spray. Or try a few drops of a pregnancy safe scented oil for a more natural alternative!

Deodorants Vs. Antiperspirants

A deodorant does just one thing – it reduces body odour. An antiperspirant deodorant not only neutralizes unpleasant aromas, but also blocks pores in the area it’s applied to in order to keep your sweat glands from sweating.

This may be great for eliminating those pesky pit stains, however there is a downside to using an antiperspirant. All of the smelly toxins that sweating flushes out of your body are now trapped inside, with all that sweat you didn’t sweat out!

It may be helpful to stick to a non antiperspirant deodorant while you’re pregnant, and save the antiperspirant for white shirts or special occasions.

I also recommend choosing natural deodorant made from organic ingredients and free from any nasty chemicals (that could be absorbed through skin and be harmful for your baby!). Opt for deodorant that is free from aluminum, triclosan, parabens. Instead of artificial fragrance, it should have only natural scent.

Here is our list of the best pregnancy-safe deodorants that are non-toxic and still good at keeping the bad smell at the bay.

If you have concerns about switching your deodorant or your BO, talk to your health care provider and/or OB-GYN first.

Natural Deodorant By Earth Mama Organics

What To Eat To Reduce Body Odor & What Foods To Avoid

Foods high in sulfur can give your body a strong smell. Try to avoid things like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, sugar, junk food, and spices like chili, garlic, cumin, and fenugreek in your pregnancy and breastfeeding diet. Amino acids in red meat can also contribute to bad body odour.

Foods to add to your diet for a better body odor include pineapple, parsley, spirulina and other leafy greens. Make sure that you get enough fiber to help regulate gut bacteria.

When To See A Doctor?

If you notice an unusual or sudden change in your natural scent and are concerned, consult with your doctor. There are many reasons that this could be occurring, and they can help you understand why – and what to do about it!

If you’re planning to try any kind of medicated soap or deodorant during pregnancy, check with your OB to ensure that all of the ingredients are safe for baby, or won’t be absorbed into your bloodstream.

Can Body Odor Predict Baby’s Gender?

It’s been thought that increased body odour can predict whether your baby will be a boy or a girl. Rumor has it that a strong smell during pregnancy means the baby is more likely to be male. Apparently little boys are stinky even before they’re born!

However, there isn’t a lot of scientific research to support this claim. It’s true that hormones can affect how desirable people smell to each other in the romantic sense, but the correlation between B.O. and “boy or girl” hasn’t been well documented.

Long story short, this is most likely an old wives’ tale. If you’re really wanting a reliable indicator of baby’s gender, it’s best to get an ultrasound from your healthcare provider instead of taking a whiff of your armpits.

Is Body Odor An Early Sign Of Pregnancy?

This is another common rumor surrounding pregnancy symptoms. It could be possible that a change in body odor could be due to a baby on the way – or it could be one of many other possible causes.

You can also experience body odour from switching deodorants, going a long time without a shower, or eating a tad bit too much garlic. But the only way to know for sure if you’re pregnant is by doing a lab test for pregnancy hormones or getting an ultrasound.

If you’ve noticed a change in your smell and are wondering if you could be pregnant, it’s probably best just to take a pregnancy test as this is a much more reliable indicator of pregnancy.

Take Heart, Mama!

Body odor during pregnancy doesn’t have to keep you from enjoying this wonderful time in your life! If you’re excited to bring baby closer but don’t love the way you smell, come back to this list of causes and remedies for support and encouragement.

Article By Jessica Pierce, RN

Jessica Pierce is Registered Nurse, Nationally Registered Paramedic, writer, and contemporary dance artist based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She holds two undergraduate degrees from Oral Roberts University – a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (2018) and a Bachelor’s of Art in Dance Performance (2019).

The purpose of this article is informative. It’s not a substitute for professional medical advice or medical care. Remember: safety first! Consult your doctor/pediatrician in case of any doubts. The author of this article does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here.







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