Pregnancy may be the sweetest time in a woman's life, but that doesn't mean that it smells good. In fact, there are a lot of strange odors that can come out of a person's body, thanks to the hormones and other changes that happen to the body in pregnancy.
Right from the beginning, a woman's scent starts to change. From the waste that comes out of her body to the sweat that drips from her pores, she's going through all kinds of stinky situations. Her breath gets rank for more than one reason, and her feet get pretty putrid as well. Of course, there can be even more rank odors emanating from the places in between, whether she wants them to or not. Some of the smells are just the fate of a pregnant woman, while others can actually be warnings of something going wrong with the body.
Women who are concerned about their strange smells should talk to their doctors to make sure that all is well. But for the most part, the nose just has to suffer right along with the rest of her for the nine months that the baby is on board.
Here are 15 smells the body produces during pregnancy.
15 What's That Smell?
There is no shortage of gross moments as a pregnant woman, and that can start very early in the pregnancy, even before the morning sickness sets in. In fact, some women can tell they are pregnant just by that first trip to the bathroom in the morning, even before they try a pregnancy test.
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, the hormone that pregnancy tests detect because it rises so fast when a baby is on board, can actually produce a smell. It's kind of pungent punch to the normal odor of urine. Of course, it helps that the hormone can make women have a greater sensitivity to smell. We hope that other people don't detect such a strong scent, although most public bathrooms smell anyway, so they may not pick up on it. It's the first weird smell that the body will produce during pregnancy, but it won't take long for a mom-to-be to detect some other aromas.
14 Toot Toot
An unfortunate fact of pregnancy is that it can make women gassy. For some women, that can start as soon as the embryo implants and the hormones rise, which can make it hard to hide the secret of a pregnancy in the first trimester because this symptom can cause people to hear the mom-to-be coming — or smell her coming.
Yep, she can sound like a one-man band and smell like a bathroom because of all the gas her body produces. The symptom is attributed to the increase of hormones, which can slow down digestion and cause things to fester a bit too long in the belly. At the most inopportune times, the body can let that gas escape. If things are quiet, that can be great. That is, until the smell of the fart gives her away.
It may be best to avoid the beans for a while, and other things like broccoli, cauliflower and dried fruit that can also create the big stinky gas. Avoid them all to try and keep the smell at bay.
13 Big Old Burps
It isn't just the backside that can take the brunt of the gas that comes in pregnancy. For some women, farts aren't the problem. It's burps that they have to deal with. Some people would say that would be a better deal, but pregos who suffer from the burps would never agree. After meals, they may burp 10 or 12 times in an hour. Some will be baby ones, but at least a few will be major explosions.
Burps can be just as loud and just as smelly as farts. And they can be even harder to blame on someone else. Plus, let us add that the place where they go out is much closer to the nose than the other end, so the poor mom-to-be, at least, has to suffer her own indignation even more.
Unfortunately, both side effects have the danger of being a little too wet. For women who are already going through morning sickness, they could having to swallow down a bit of their breakfast twice every day, which surely adds to the smell and takes it to the extreme.
12 Body Odor
Everything is more intense in pregnancy, and that includes turning up the body temperature. Pregnant women feel like they literally have a bun in the oven for nine months, which means that they can break out in a sweat when everyone else is clutching a blanket. In the summer months, their poor bodies may never even cool down enough at night to get comfortable in bed. They'll sweat from sunrise to sundown.
Of course, sweat leads to body odor, which is just another terrible smell that pregnant women have to endure. Things can get even worse if mom takes a break on the shaving, and let's admit it, we all take a break from shaving when our bodies make it much harder. A mom-to-be is likely to sweat it out for months and do her best to stay away from a crowd so no one knows about her embarrassing body odor.
11 Disgusting Discharge
Women expect things to get weird when they get pregnant, and the fact that things change down below isn't at all that unexpected. But for many, it can come as a shock that even a normal vaginal discharge can change in color, texture and even smell.
According to Health & Parenting, about 65 percent of women say their discharge smells during pregnancy. The new scent can show up right away, thanks to the hormone increase that leads to the smell in the urine. It may seem super gross, but most doctors say that they hardly notice, and the other people in the office won't be looking around to figure out who smells during a meeting.
Unfortunately, the keen nose of a pregnant woman makes her especially embarrassed about her scent during this time in her life. But as long as the smell doesn't change over time, it's likely that everything is OK.
10 Smells Like Feet
Armpits aren't the only thing that stink from sweat, and unfortunately, pregnant women are just as likely to suffer from the other smells as well. It's a good thing that it's such a chore to take shoes on or off or our days would be a lot smellier. As it is, it's already hard to handle the odor that comes from pregnant women's feet.
It isn't just the hormones that make pregnant women have smelly feet. It's also a personal thing, which is a truth for just about everything. Some women detect a different odor as early as the first trimester.
Doctors say that keeping your feet clean and dry and using baby powder might help with the odor and with the swelling. There are some other home remedies that might help a little, but the truth is that there isn't much you can do to fight hormones and the crazy smells of pregnancy.
9 Bad Breath
We've already mentioned one of the odors that can come from a mom-to-be's mouth, but the burps aren't the only problem. You probably guessed that already since one of the most notorious symptoms of pregnancy is morning sickness. Morning sickness, unfortunately, means a lot of vomit, and no one likes the smell that leaves behind.
It can be hard to fight the grossness that comes with morning sickness. Some women start to throw up all over again as soon as they try to brush their teeth. Eating apples could help keep the teeth clean, if mom can keep that down. But there could be another bout of sickness just seconds later. It's a hard thing to figure out, since the usual solutions like breath mints and gum also don't do much good when the first trimester queasiness lasts all day long. Their co-workers may not know whether the hand in front of mom's face is to catch the next bout of throw up or to cover up the smell.
8 Stuffy Nose
Combatting bad breath can be an endless process for pregnant women, and we'll get into a couple more reasons before we are done. Usually the morning sickness starts to dissipate at the end of the first trimester, which is around 12 weeks gestation, although some women have to deal with it for all nine months. For others, when the second trimester starts, they breath their first fresh breath sigh of relief. That is, until the rhinitis sets in.
For some strange reason — hormones, of course, are again the culprit — some women get a terrible case of stuffy nose when they are pregnant. It's not at all related to a cold, yet the blood vessels swell, making it impossible to continue to breath normally for months at a time. That means that those poor women have to breathe through their mouths. Any person who has ever suffered from a cold knows that it can make you stink a bit, and that's because (well, other than the smell of the sickness) your mouth can dry out when you are breathing through it all the time. That can cause a weird smell to stay in the mouth. In other words, they get bad breath. It's gross, but another smell women have to suffer through during pregnancy.
7 Dog Drool
One more nasty pregnancy symptom is the sheer amount of saliva that some women produce while the baby grows in their bellies. It's enough to soak her pillow every night, but that isn't the only issue. If you thought morning breath was bad before, add in a lot more drool, and that is a recipe for the most rancid smell that can wake up anyone in the house.
Anyone who has ever had an extra drooly dog knows that the more saliva, the stronger the smell. It's not really just a matter of flipping the pillow over and starting again, many moms-to-be may want to invest in extra pillow cases, so they can change them every day to keep the bedroom from becoming funky. And the smell could set off the morning sickness before she rushes to get her toothbrush every morning. It's not enough to just brush it all away. She needs to gargle mouthwash at least a couple of times a day to keep things at least partially fresh.
6 Teeth Problems
Yep, there is more. While going to the dentist is a little worrisome for some pregnant women, especially in the first trimester, it's also one of the worst times for a woman's teeth - at least since she got her braces off.
Those good ol' pregnancy hormones make a woman more susceptible to gingivitis, which is when the gums swell and feel tender. It's why many moms-to-be end up spitting out a little blood every time they brush their teeth. At the same time, there is a bigger risk of tooth decay while a woman is pregnant.
Morning sickness may be so bad that it can be triggered by tooth brushing, but women need to be extra careful to try to get through it. That's because morning sickness can wear down the enamel on the teeth even more, and getting out of the habit of brushing can make the mouth issues of pregnancy even worse. And one more thing is certain: with tooth decay comes bad breath.
5 Metal Head
The strange thing about the sense of smell is that it is incredibly connected to the sense of taste. That makes sense, since the ears and throat are connected to each other. But that means that sometimes people notice a smell in their mouth or a taste through their nose. That's why we're mentioning this next weird phenomenon as a smell because that's sometimes how it presents. It's actually a taste — a taste of metal that strikes pregnant women all of a sudden like they are eating a handful of coins or something.
The phenomenon is called dysgeusia, and it's caused by hormones. It's strongest in the first trimester. For some women, the smell or taste is so strong that it overpowers everything they try to eat or all the perfume they try to counteract it. Doctors recommend brushing teeth, chewing gum, eating apples or citrus foods, or vinegar foods, like pickles. But the truth is that it's just a strange smell/taste of pregnancy, and it may never go away until the birth of the baby.
4 Yucky Yeast
Sometimes the smells that happen in pregnant women can actually be a sign that something else is wrong. With everything so stinky already, it may be tempting to ignore it, but the body sometimes produces smells as warning signs. Take, for example, the odors that come from down below. We've already mentioned that things can change a bit down there just because of hormones, but they can also change because of diseases.
The first strange odor to look out for smells a bit like bread. That's because it's a sign of a yeast infection. Yes, yeast is the same thing that makes bread rise, but this isn't the healthy kind. In fact, it's pretty gross. It can be smelly and itchy and the discharge looks a little yellow. Yeast infections are more than just uncomfortable. They are caused by a fungus and require some medication. Sometimes doctors give a prescription, but there are some over-the-counter creams that can help a lot. It may not get the smell back to its pre-pregnancy aroma, but it'll take away the bread scent.
3 Something's Fishy
Smelling like bread may not be fun, but it's nothing compared to smelling like fish. No one wants to experience that nastiness, especially when their nose is especially sensitive during pregnancy. But another common illness can cause that sinister smell in a woman's discharge.
A bacterial issue called bacterial vaginosis can happen more often for pregnant women. It's caused by an imbalance in the natural flora, and imbalance is the name of the game when it comes to pregnancy. In addition to the putrid smell, the discharge can change in color and it can get itchy and painful down below. Moms-to-be shouldn't ignore those signs because the infection can spread and it can cause problems to the uterus and fallopian tubes. It can even affect the baby, causing them to be born premature and if a woman has a bunch of problems, she may end up having an ectopic pregnancy. The good news is that it is highly treatable, so pregnant women should talk to their doctor — it can save the baby and get rid of the horrible smell.
2 Fruity Aroma
All kinds of strange things can happen with the body when a woman is pregnant, and even the most healthy women can have complications that they may not expect. Body odor could be the tip off for some of these, and that includes a fruity aroma that can come off a mom-to-be while she's just out there walking around.
The smell is a sign of high blood sugar. It happens for every diabetic who hasn't taken enough insulin, but many times moms-to-be don't know that they could ever expect that kind of issue. Gestational diabetes is fairly common, affecting up to 10 percent of pregnant women. While women who are overweight are more likely to have it, there are plenty of women who end up with the condition too because pregnancy hormones can mess up the entire system.
Women will be tested for gestational diabetes as part of a prenatal care program, but if they smell like fruit before or after the test, they should talk to the doctor about it. Gestational diabetes can cause a range of issues from a big birthweight baby to an increased likelihood of stillbirth. It's important to seek treatment, so the smell is the least of the problems.
1 Childbirth Stench
All these weird and wacky smells of pregnancy can all come together during the crazy last hurrah of childbirth. From yet another change to the smell of the discharge just before the big event to all of the urine and feces smells that can come out and the sweat that happens as the contractions ramp up, it's an amazing hot mess of putrefaction that can really take over as the baby makes its arrival.
The good thing is that the smells can help guide the doctors and nurses to figure out any problems that could arise. For example, the smell of waste in the amniotic fluid could be a sign that the baby passed its meconium in the womb and could be in need of extra care. The fruity aroma has them looking out for gestational diabetes, and a particular stench in the discharge could mean the need for medication prior to the delivery.
Doctors have smelled it all, and as embarrassing as it seems, everything will be over soon. And then it's on to the strange scents of breastmilk and the stench that the baby will make every time he fills his diaper.
Sources: FitPregnancy, Health & Parenting, WebMD