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Pregnancy changes your hormonal levels drastically, 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 may suddenly find yourself not feeling fresh as a daisy anymore. Pregnancy also turns your nose into that of a bloodhound, and you may not get over the foul odour your body emanates. Body odour during pregnancy can 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.
Estradiol is a hormone which increases during pregnancy resulting in a heightened sense of smell. It is easy to deal with odours coming from outside, but the foul smell that emerges from your own body could be intolerable. Understanding 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 with increased quantities of estradiol, your body produces a strong smell. Hormones are the main 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, the body temperature rises, and pregnant women generally have a low tolerance while dealing with heat. The additional weight that you carry makes you sweat more even on cold days. Sweat glands in pregnant women become hyperactive and intensify body odour. The sweat is odourless, however, when it settles on the skin, it creates an atmosphere for bacteria to thrive causing 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 be heightened, and you may find yourself cringing at the slightest of whiffs, occasionally 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 that 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 head 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 eat a variety of nutritious foods. Certain food cause changes in body odour. Red meat has amino acids which cause the sweat to smell a certain way for a couple of hours or even for days. Seafood affects not only the odour of sweat but also vaginal discharge. Vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower contain sulphur that is absorbed in 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, contact your doctor.
- Bathe at least twice daily: Shower or take a bath at least twice a day. Try using an anti-bacterial soap to kill the bacteria that causes bad odour. Use clean towels to wipe yourself dry.
- Keep your skin fresh: Try using home remedies like when taking a shower, keep a container with some water and squeeze a few drops of lemon. After using this concoction, rinse with water in another container with a bit of honey. This combinations leaves the skin smooth and helps the skin remain fresh for long. If you are taking a bath, add a bunch of mint leaves as the aroma will be rejuvenating.
- Shampoo regularly: Wash your hair with shampoo at least three times a week. Spray some perfume 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 at all times.
- Stay trimmed and pruned: Hair in the genitals and underarms can accumulate sweat and trap bacteria on the skin. Keep it trimmed so that it does not produce sweat that will lead to 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 an antiperspirant, as it will be more effective. Make sure that you carry it 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 one use. Try adding ¼ cup white vinegar in the rinse cycle to your laundry. You could also try washing your clothes separately and adding a fabric conditioner to get them to smell fresh. If your undergarments smell bad, soak them in a solution of ¼ cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of 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 onions, garlic, and red meat in excessive amounts. Stick to fruits and green vegetables as these will reduce body odour and will also be 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 the medications that you might be taking. Remember that your body odour will never harm your baby and more often than not, it is only you who will be able to smell it. The methods mentioned above are the safest ways 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