Heightened Sense of Smell in Pregnancy: Causes & Tips to Overcome It

Heightened Sense of Smell During Pregnancy

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sanjana Sainani (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
View more Gynecologist/Obstetrician Our Panel of Experts

Before you experience morning sickness or fatigue, your heightened olfactory senses could indicate that soon there will be a bundle of joy enjoying tummy time or toddling around in your house. Along with numerous bodily and mental changes that pregnancy brings about, a woman may also have a heightened sense of smell during pregnancy. If you have suddenly become sensitive to the scents around you now that you’re pregnant, find out what could be causing it and how to deal with it.

When Does the Sense of Smell Start to Heighten During Pregnancy?

A woman’s body undergoes many changes during pregnancy and these changes start happening from early on, i.e., from the first trimester of the pregnancy. It is during this time that women may experience a heightened sense of smell. The strength of smell may vary for each woman but it tends to get stronger around this time. This is probably also the reason for nausea in pregnant women. Women who don’t have a heightened sense of smell or don’t get overwhelmed by the scents around them may not experience morning sickness or nausea during pregnancy.

What Causes Strong Sense of Smell During Pregnancy?

What Causes Strong Sense of Smell During Pregnancy?

There’s no scientific study or medical reasons to back this up but it could be due to hormonal changes during pregnancy. Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy and hormones associated with morning sickness could be responsible for a heightened sense of smell during pregnancy. Estrogen, hCG, and numerous other hormones get a boost during pregnancy, and as a result a woman may experience morning sickness. A heightened sense of smell further aggravates it due to the hormones running amok within your body.

Tips to Cope With Heightened Sense of Smell During Pregnancy

At times, this superpower can turn into a needless headache since strong smells can end up getting uncomfortable after a while. There are a few techniques that can help you handle this situation well.

1. Keep Things That Smell Good

It might be your favourite soap, an old book, or any other scent that is gentle and calming and helps you keep morning sickness in check. Make sure that you carry it along with you if you’re going out.

2. Reduce Nausea Triggers

Morning sickness triggers are usually olfactory since any smell can make you feel like throwing up. Reduce the chances of that nausea by sticking to your mealtimes, having regular supplements for Vitamin B, drinking herbal teas that are good for you, and so on.

3. Stay Away From Smoke

Inhaling cigarette smoke indirectly poses harm to your child, too. And a heightened sense of smell can make it even worse. Make sure to keep away from it as well as from chemicals that are known to smell bad or emit harmful gases, too.

4. Keep Your Home Ventilated

Make sure your house has a lot of flowing air. Keep windows open and look for opportunities that allow cross ventilation. In winters, try to step out for a while with a sweater if needed.

5. Wash Clothes Regularly

Most women tend to reuse clothes during pregnancy to avoid the chore of washing them repeatedly. However, you might be able to smell the sweat and other odours quite easily now. Therefore, use a nice gentle detergent to clean them often.

6. Clean Your Fridge

You might not notice this in everyday life but your fridge has things and food that tend to have a smell that can get disgusting after a while. Ensure your fridge gets a cleaning and keep a box of baking soda if you can to neutralize the smell.

7. Go for Neutral Smells

Opting for shampoos, soaps, or detergents with a strong flowery smell might not be the best bet during pregnancy. Instead, go for the ones that don’t have any scents or have a very light fragrance.

Can You Prevent a Heightened Sense of Smell?

Unfortunately, there isn’t. It is one of the many natural changes that happen during pregnancy and subside post childbirth. It is best to make peace with it.

When Does the Increased Sense of Smell Go Away?

This, too, varies from person to person. For some women, the sensitivity reduces as their pregnancy progresses. For others, this increased sense of smell might stay throughout the pregnancy and fade away completely after childbirth.

Types of Smell Pregnant Women Should Avoid

There are a few odours that a pregnant woman should definitely keep away from for her own good.

1. Detergent Powder

Using the ones that have added scents to it can easily get overwhelming for you triggering nausea.

2. Areas That Stink

Public toilets, garbage bins, and other places that usually stink will smell even stronger than before.

3. Foods That Smell

Eggs, fish, or cheese have a typical smell to them that, when pregnant, can be disorienting and uncomfortable for you.

4. Pet Animals

If you have a dog or a cat, the natural smell of their body can get too strong to keep them in the house.

A heightened sense of smell during pregnancy can either enhance the taste of certain food items or end up in triggering nausea. Nevertheless, keeping things that have a mild smell near you and avoiding the ones that disgust you, is the easiest way to ensure that your sense of smell which is in overdrive during pregnancy doesn’t cause problems.

Also Read:

Vaginal Smell during Pregnancy
Body Odour While Pregnant – Do I Smell?

Previous article «
Next article »