Numerous psychological and physical changes occur during pregnancy. You may find it challenging to adjust to how quickly your body is changing. Your body begins making preparations to support your growing baby even in the earliest stages of pregnancy, before you may even be aware that you are pregnant. Some of these changes may have unanticipated consequences. Body odor during pregnancy is one of them.
When their armpits smell like onions, pregnant women become more annoyed, even if others do not notice it. Thanks to their heightened senses of smell. Body odor during pregnancy can be embarrassing, but it’s normal for several reasons. While some experience sweet body odor during pregnancy, others find their body emits a fishy odor during pregnancy. Rather than worrying, find out the causes and ways to reduce body odor during pregnancy.
Which Area Is Most Susceptible To Body Odor While Pregnant?
While body odor during pregnancy can emanate from any part of the body, it is most prevalent in areas with more sweat glands or where a woman sweats more. This includes the groin and underarms. Other areas that are susceptible to body odor during pregnancy are:
- Belly buttons
- Behind the ears
What Causes Body Odor During Pregnancy?
Several factors contribute to body odor during pregnancy. But estradiol is the main culprit that makes body odor unbearable for pregnant women as per this source. The hormone estradiol increases during pregnancy, making women more sensitive to odors. Odors from the outside world can be ignored with relative ease, but body odor can be a real problem for pregnant women due to this sensitivity. The unpleasant odors may be more manageable if you learn what’s causing them.
Related Reading: 12 Permanent Body Changes After Pregnancy That Women Experience
Keep reading to learn about the most common causes of severe pregnancy odor:
1. Alteration in hormone levels
There may be a noticeable shift in body odor due to the hormonal changes pregnant women experience. Body odor in women has been linked to fluctuations in hormone levels like cortisol, progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone1.
The body emits a potent odor in response to a sudden shift in hormone levels, especially when estradiol levels rise. The primary areas affected by hormones are the genitals and armpits, which explains the prevalent underarm odor during pregnancy.
2. Sweating excessively
Because of the rise in core temperature that occurs during pregnancy, pregnant women typically have a reduced capacity to tolerate heat. That is why women who are pregnant have a more difficult time adjusting to warmer temperatures than other people.
Pregnant women perspire more, even on cold days, due to the additional weight they carry. Pregnant women’s sweat glands are hyperactive because their blood volume and blood circulation increase dramatically. This exacerbates body odor. Although sweat has no odor in and of itself, it can foster the growth of bacteria that ultimately leads to an unpleasant odor.
Related Reading: Sweating During Pregnancy
3. The body’s way of preparing for breastfeeding
The body prepares for breastfeeding during pregnancy. As your body changes in preparation for breastfeeding, it develops signals to bring your baby closer to you. This includes a heightened body odor. It’s important to keep in mind that your child’s sense of smell will be their primary means of recognition until their hearing and vision fully develop.
The baby will be able to identify its mother by her scent, and a potent scent will naturally entice the baby closer to the mother. Therefore, the baby would naturally direct his or her head toward the mother’s breasts as a result of the smell coming from the mother.
4. Changes in eating habits
Most pregnant women know the importance of eating well and make an effort to include a wide variety of nutritious foods in their diets. Some foods are responsible for the development of new body odors.
- Amino acids found in red meat give sweat an unpleasant odor for a few hours or even days
- Both vaginal discharge and sweat odor are impacted by seafood
- Body odor may result from eating more garlic and spicy food
- Various seasonings; fenugreek and cumin in particular may cause body odor
- Broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower all contain sulfur compounds that are absorbed into the bloodstream. This transpires as sweat on the surface of the skin, which combines with bacteria to create a foul odor
Related Reading: Using Deodorants And Perfumes During Pregnancy – Is It Safe
Taking certain medications during pregnancy can also contribute to body odor2.
When Does Body Odor Start During Pregnancy?
Depending on the underlying cause, body odor may manifest at any point during pregnancy. Pregnancy body odor can begin before a woman realizes she is pregnant and persists long after the baby is born. Body odor can be affected by changes in diet, weight, and hormones during pregnancy.
- Hormonal shifts during pregnancy can increase olfactory response, which could lead to experiencing early pregnancy odor
- As your blood volume increases, you may notice an increase in your body’s odor during the second and third trimesters
- In the third trimester, if you’ve gained a lot of weight, your sweat may collect in the creases of your skin and give off an unpleasant odor
Related Reading: 12 Tips To Maintain Weight During Pregnancy
How To Avoid Body Odor During Pregnancy?
The following measures can be taken to control body odor during pregnancy:
- Make sure to clean up with a shower or bath at least twice a day. In order to eliminate the odor-causing bacteria, you should use anti-bacterial soap. Always use a fresh towel to dry off
- Add a handful of mint leaves to your bath, as their aroma will be refreshing
- You should shampoo your hair at least three times a week, and using an herbal hair serum will also aid in odor control
- Genital and underarm hair is prone to collecting sweat and harboring bacteria. So keep it trimmed or waxed
- Many environmental and health factors can increase body toxicity and cause odor. Drinking plenty of water flushes out all toxins and maintains a clean system, thereby aiding in the prevention of body odor
- Avoid consuming excessive quantities of garlic, onions, and red meat. Staying on a diet high in fruits and vegetables is good for you and the baby because it will help you smell better and the baby will benefit from the nutrients
- Fenugreek is a spice that has both medicinal and deodorant properties. You can chew the soaked seeds or drink fenugreek water
- A diet rich in green, leafy vegetables is an important part of any detox program. However, spicy and oily foods raise acid levels in the body and increase digestive stress, so it’s best to avoid them. The consumption of these foods can cause an increase in body temperature and precipitation
5 Home Remedies For Body Odor During Pregnancy
The following is a list of five home remedies that help prevent pregnancy-related body odor:
1. Use potatoes to get rid of body odor
Cut a few fresh thin slices of potato, and then rub them in the area under your arms for about ten minutes. The antimicrobial activity of potato juice is well-known and widely recognized3. Potato slices rubbed on the underarms can reduce sweating and eliminate odor-causing bacteria by bringing the skin’s pH down.
Afterward, you can use regular water to remove any residue. This technique will gradually eliminate and eradicate the odor. If the application of potato slices is inconvenient, potato paste can also be used. Even though they are well-known remedies, you should avoid using acidic agents like lemon juice and apple cider vinegar on your skin during pregnancy because they can disrupt the pH balance of your body and skin.
Related Reading: Smell Sensitivity During Pregnancy (Hyperosmia)- Causes And Remedies
2. Use homemade aloe vera wipes
The antimicrobial and skin-smoothing properties of aloe vera are well-documented. The aloe vera gel you extract at home is excellent for skin care. One can simply moisten cotton pads with aloe vera gel and wipe the skin.
This will not only eliminate odor-causing microorganisms but will also promote the release of collagen, a protein that helps build skin. Baby wipes can be used to remove perspiration from the bikini region, underarms, and breasts.
3. Make use of rosewater
As a natural remedy, rose water can help with unpleasant body odor. Before taking a bath, add a few drops of rose water to the bathtub. After a refreshing bath, you won’t even need deodorant! Increase the number of drops of rose water in the bath if the body odor is intense.
You could also try dabbing some rose water on your sweaty spots. Leave it to dry and wash it off with some water. Pat dry. As rose water is an astringent, it reduces the size of the pores present on the skin, and this decreases sweat production. It also leaves behind a floral fragrance. For emergencies, you can keep a rosewater spray handy.
4. Make use of essential oils
Every day, add a few drops of tea tree oil or lavender oil to your bath water. When you need to mask a strong body odor, mix a few drops of Tea Tree or Lavender Oil with an equal amount of water and apply it directly to your sweaty areas.
Just let it sit for a while and then wipe it off. Optimal results will be achieved if used daily. Because of its antiseptic properties, tea tree oil can be used to combat skin bacteria and fungi, thereby reducing the risk of unpleasant body odor. Likewise, besides being enchanting for its light floral aroma, lavender oil helps prevent the spread of bacteria that cause unpleasant odors.
5. Neem bath
Boil water with neem leaves in it. Add this mixture to your bath water and take a bath. To achieve the best results, use daily. You could also try grinding the neem leaves into a paste with a little bit of water. This mixture should be applied to any areas of the body that tend to perspire. Simply let it dry and then rinse it off and pat dry.
Because of its antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic properties, neem is useful for detoxifying the body and getting rid of the bacteria that cause bad odors.
Other measures to combat the effects of pregnancy-related body odor include:
- Put on loose, breathable clothing
- Rather than synthetics, opt for natural fibers like linen and cotton
- Wash your clothes before every use
- When doing the laundry’s final rinse, try adding a quarter cup of white vinegar
- Use a fabric conditioner
- Wash your clothes separately
- The odor in your underwear can be eliminated by soaking them in a solution of 1/4 cup white vinegar and 1 cup water for 15 minutes before washing
Related Reading: 9 Hacks To Dress During Pregnancy Without Maternity Clothes
When To See A Doctor?
While it’s normal for pregnant women to sweat, there are some warning signs when it comes to body odor during pregnancy that could mean you need to see a doctor.
- An abnormally large amount of perspiration
- Unable to stand the smell of one’s own body
- Persistent perspiration leaving the skin damp
- Itchy, red skin that develops from perspiration
- Experience a fruity body odor that may signal diabetes.
- Experience a Bleach-like body odor that may indicate liver or kidney disease.
Except in cases where other abnormal symptoms are present, pregnancy-related body odor is not caused for alarm. See an OB/GYN or dermatologist for a treatment that won’t harm the unborn child if pregnancy-related body odor is making you uncomfortable. Normal body odor returns to most women after delivery, and they consider pregnancy-related body odor as a temporary side effect.
Pregnant women have a heightened sense of smell due to the rise in estradiol levels. This is also the reason why they feel their body odor is so strong, even when it is normal.
Old wives’ tales say that you may have more body odor with a boy than with a girl, even though there is no scientific evidence to support this.
Before a woman knows she is pregnant, she may notice an enhanced sense of smell. Thus some women report experiencing an increase in the intensity of their body odor before they know their pregnancy.
You should use some powder, antiperspirant, or deodorant in the creases of your skin and under your arms. Remember that deodorants do not prevent perspiration; their sole purpose is to make you smell pleasant. Excessive perspiration calls for the use of an antiperspirant. Make sure you carry it with you everywhere you go. Also, deodorants containing aluminium, parabens, triclosan, phthalates, propylene glycol, or any other potentially harmful ingredients should be avoided during pregnancy.