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Pregnancy changes your hormonal levels to a drastic level and they, in turn, impact your sensory functions and emotions. With a change in your basal metabolic rate and increased blood supply to all parts of your body- armpits, vagina, uterus and pretty much everywhere your glands work overtime. You suddenly find yourself not feeling fresh as a daisy anymore. Pregnancy also turns your nose into that of a bloodhound, and you just cannot get over the foul odour your body emanates. Body odour during pregnancy can leave a huge impact on your mood and make you feel really conscious and embarrassed. Hormones play truant during lactation too and cause a pungent odour especially at the genitals and armpits. But then again body odour is very common among pregnant women.
What Causes Body Odour During Pregnancy?
Estradiol is a hormone which increases during the pregnancy resulting in a heightened sense of smell. It is easy to deal with odours coming from outside, but a foul smell that emerges from your own body could make you feel intolerant. It is important to understand the underlying reasons for the bad-smelling odours could help with coping with them. Read on to find out the primary reasons for strong body odour during pregnancy:
1. Hormonal Change
With a drastic change in the hormonal levels in the body, especially increased quantities of estradiol, your body produces a strong smell. Hormones are the main culprit and the reason for the pungent odour. The main areas that hormones affect are the genitals and armpits which is why underarm odour during pregnancy is most common among expectant mothers.
2. Excessive Sweating
During pregnancy, body temperature rises, and pregnant women generally have a lower intolerance while dealing with heat. The additional weight that you carry makes you sweat more even on colder days. Sweat glands in pregnant women become hyperactive and intensify the body odour. The sweat is odourless, however, when it settles on the skin it creates an atmosphere for bacteria to thrive and creates a bad body odour during pregnancy.
3. Increased Sensitivity
With the increase in the level of hormones, pregnant women experience different cravings and sensations. Your sense of smell will become heightened and you may find yourself cringing at the silliest of whiffs occasionally even to the point of throwing up. It may be quite likely that people around you have not noticed the odour, but you have. Blame it on your increased sensitivity to things.
4. Preparation for Breastfeeding
When you are pregnant, your body is preparing for lactation. Remember your little one will take some time to develop proper hearing and vision, and until then it is their keen sense of smell that will help them recognise things. Your baby will recognise you by your smell, and it is but natural that a strong odour will draw your baby closer to you. Your smelly armpits would encourage your baby to swirl their heads in the direction of your breasts to feed naturally.
5. Change in Diet
Healthy food is an integral part of pregnancy, and most expectant mothers include foods that are nutritious. Certain food cause changes in body odour. Red meat has amino acids and causes the sweat to smell a certain way for a couple of hours or even for days. Seafood not only affects the odour of sweat but also vaginal discharge. Vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower contain sulphur that is absorbed by the bloodstream. This erupts as sweat on the surface of the skin which mixes with bacteria resulting in a foul odour. Some medications that you take will also cause a change in body odour.
Most often, it is only you who can sense this odour owing to your heightened sense of smell. Do not worry about reactions from others. However, if you experience any vaginal secretions that have a strange colour or odour then contact your doctor.
Tips for Getting Rid of Pregnancy Body Odour
- Bathe at least twice daily: Shower or take a bath at least twice a day. Try using antibacterial soap to kill the bacteria that causes bad odour. Use clean towels to wipe yourself dry.
- Keep your skin fresh: If taking a shower, keep a container with some water and squeeze a few drops of lemon to wash with. After using this concoction, rinse with water in another container with a bit of honey. This combinations leaves the skin smooth and silky and helps skin remain fresh for long. If you are taking a bath, add a bunch of mint leaves as the aroma will be rejuvenation.
- Shampoo Regularly: Wash your hair with shampoo at least three times a week. Sprinkle some perfume or scent on your comb or brush so that it lends the scent to your hair every time you run it through. Keep your comb clean and dry all the time.
- Stay Trimmed and pruned: Hair in the genitals, underarms and pubic area can accumulate sweat and trap bacteria on the skin. Keep it trimmed as frequently as possible so that it does not produce sweat that will lead to any bad odour.
- Use a deodorant, antiperspirant or powder: Apply deodorant or talcum powder on your underarms to smell fresh. If you sweat profusely, then use antiperspirants which will be more effective. Make sure that you carry these with you wherever you go. Deodorants don’t stop you from sweating; They simply do the job of helping you smell nice.
- Wear loose and breathable clothes: Wear fabrics like linen and cotton which are more breathable. Avoid wearing the same clothes and wash them after on use. Try adding ¼ cup white vinegar in the rinse cycle to your laundry. You could also try washing your clothes separately and add fabric conditioner to get them to smell fresh. If your undergarments smell bad, then soak them in a solution of ¼ white vinegar and water for 15 minutes before washing them.
- Stay Hydrated: Drink fluids to control body odour as water flushes out all toxins from your body and keeps your system clean.
- Eat right: Avoid eating too much of onions, garlic and red meat. Stick to fruits and green vegetables which will reduce body odour and it is also beneficial to the foetus.
Things To Remember
Even after maintaining an impeccable standard of personal hygiene and eating right, you may experience severe body odour. In such circumstances, make sure to consult your doctor. Your doctor may suggest some medicated soap or make a few changes to medications that you might be taking. Remember your body odour will never harm your baby and more often than not it is only you who will experience the same. The methods mentioned above are the safest way to get rid of body odour and maintain personal hygiene. So go on and try them and don’t fret too much as it is all a part of the experience.
Also Read: Vaginal Odour during Pregnancy