My husband and I were just talking about this the other day, actually.
No, I don’t have horrible body odor (aka BO) – but we were laughing as we remembered a time when the body starts to produce hormones that make it, well, get stinky sometimes.
I’ve been pregnant twice so far, but we actually weren’t talking about that very hormonal time. Nope, we were reminiscing about puberty, when we first (hilariously) realized that it was definitely time to start wearing deodorant.
We remembered how as kids, we could wear the same sweatshirt for days or weeks on end without it smelling funky at all. We could go out at recess and run around or play basketball in the hot sun, simply to cool and dry off in class without our classmates noticing a thing.
Then came puberty – when my older brother noticed that my favorite sweatshirt reeked, and he (being a super kind and caring big brother) took me deodorant shopping for the first time. And my hubs said he distinctly remembers noticing the same for his underarms once junior high hit.
Well just like during those wonder years of puberty, pregnancy is quite hormonal, as well, and some women notice abundant body odor to come along with it.
Never fear, ladies, because I’ve gathered for you here 15 ways to manage horrible BO during pregnancy.
Unfortunately, if you ask me, so many items of clothing contain blends of synthetics these days. Heck, even though the ’90s jean is back in full force, its modern counterpart most often contains elastics and polyester. Bummer!
Because breathable fabrics such as 100 percent cotton are the way to go for allowing air to get to the skin, and quite often for keeping it healthy and not so smelly.
If odor becomes an issue for you during pregnancy, take a look at the tags on your favorite dresses and tops. If polyester and synthetics are pretty common, consider that they might be the culprits in encouraging moisture and bacteria to stank things up.
A bonus of switching to breathable cotton pieces might be that they’re less itchy on the skin of that gloriously growing baby bump, as well.
14Panties Are Important
When odor is coming not from the armpits but from the groin region, instead, consider that the fabrics you wear here might be an important element, as well.
Cotton panties are breathable and might help to prevent unpleasant smells from accumulating. But it doesn’t stop there – tight pants and jeans might not allow air to circulate and contribute to an odor issue. Plus, if these aren’t made of a breathable fabric such as cotton, it may only exacerbate the problem.
Think skirts, dresses, cotton panties, and avoiding overly tight pants and jeans to keep things healthy and smelling fresh down there.
And if there’s an unusual discharge besides the normal ones of pregnancy along with a foul odor, talk to your doctor, for sure, because these could be signs of an infection.
13Portable Shower (Sort Of)
This is a tip you will be able to carry forward with you throughout the rest of your life as a parent, and probably beyond.
One you become a mom, you will likely never, ever leave the house without a big ole pack of baby wipes. You know – those pre-moistened towelettes sold in a plastic pack that are intended to clean the poop off a baby’s behind while changing his or her diaper?
Well they’re also great for cleaning hands, wiping peanut butter off of, well, everything, and giving yourself an anywhere, anytime (well, hopefully somewhere decently private) sponge bath of sorts.
Why not start during pregnancy if odor has become an issue? Baby wipes can be carried in your purse or backpack and used in the bathroom to clean up anywhere that needs it – when you don’t have a chance to take another bath or shower or use a (more environmentally friendly) washcloth.
12What Goes In…
To some extent, the body is going to do what it’s going to do. Moisture will be produced in the form of various perspiration and discharge. It will sometimes sit on the skin, and bacteria present there will mean for a stinky situation.
But if pregnancy seems to be a particularly stinky time for you, consider that what you put into your body may affect how smelly (or not) you are.
A dietary change may also mean a change in stank levels.
WebMD cautions that it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before you make some drastic change to your diet (and all of the discussion here is of course no replacement for discussing any health and hygiene concerns with your doctor), but it is apparently true that eating certain foods can contribute to a smellier body odor.
Foods that smell really strong, some fatty foods, and oils may all be fragrant factors.
11Prune The Pits
So some women choose to accept and even embrace the hair that grows on their bodies as natural and beautiful, or at least just A-OK.
If this is you, or if you don’t shave under your arms that regularly, the hair in there may contribute to noticeable body odor.
Some decide to remove the hair from the armpit, such as by shaving daily, to keep things smooth, clean, and quite possibly fresher.
And hey, if it’s not really for you, or you feel that you don’t have the time or interest to shave under your arms every single day, you could always go back to letting it grow wild once you’re in a less sweaty and hormonal period of your life.
Though I will warn that breastfeeding can be a rather hormonal and sometimes sweaty time, as well…
10The Hair… Down There
Hair can help to contribute to body odor because it can keep things moist and contain bacteria. Bacteria plus moisture equals smelliness.
Some folk, therefore, choose to remove pubic hair as another way to keep things fresher and cleaner than they would otherwise tend to be.
Honestly, most people I know choose to shave, wax, or laser off the hair – or not – down there because they or their partners like the look or idea of the body in this fashion. It’s something that changes in trends, to be sure, just like cars, décor, makeup, and clothes.
A gynecologist may note, too, that removing the hair around the vagina can be a good way for sexually active women to then easily notice if anything seems amiss down there, or in other words to be visibly alerted to external signs of sexually transmitted disease or infection.
9Keep The Rotation Going
When many people say or think “BO,” they’re often referring to a stinky underarm smell – that emanates outward for those within talking distance to notice and cringe at.
Well if you notice (or if someone else notices!) that your armpits seem to be even more stinky than usual during pregnancy, and the usual tricks (such as washing or showering and wearing antiperspirant / deodorant) aren’t quite cutting it anymore, what might a practical solution be?
How about simply changing your shirt more often?
Moisture and bacteria can accumulate in the armpits of tops and blouses, and it’s for sure hard for even rather light and breathable fabrics to get dry while they’re still being worn, so things can sort of get worse and worse.
Swapping out the top you put on in the morning for a fresh one at noon or another time before things get too smelly might do the trick.
8Feel Fresh And Clean
Body odor is not just confined to the armpits – and some gals become a bit self-conscious or even just a little annoyed about odor emanating from the groin area. And no one wants to have to deal with that.
Even if they wash well and often, the body can just seem to get stinky more quickly, particularly in this area.
If you’re having a hard time making it through the day without feeling like things are unacceptably, um, fragrant down there, how about changing out your panties more often? If that’s not practical or doesn’t work for you, how about wearing panty liners that can be changed every time you go to the bathroom?
This may help to keep things dry and lessen the likelihood that moisture, bacteria, and odors will accumulate.
7Wet Isn’t Wonderful
Bacteria are able to breed when moisture is present. And bacteria are the culprits when it comes to creating body odor.
So if underarm body odor becomes a noticeable issue for you during pregnancy, you might wanna try keeping those armpits nice and dry.
How does one go about this? Well, with a little imagination and a bit of knowhow, I bet we can come up with a whole list of ways…
Try wearing tank tops or looser-fitting close instead of tops or dresses with fabric sitting snugly up against the skin. Wear antiperspirant. Change garments more frequently than you otherwise would, especially after doing sweaty activities. Point tiny fans at your armpits (kidding -- though staying cool by having a fan in the room may help to lessen sweating and therefore keep the pits nice and dry).
So you think you’re doing everything you can to prevent or deal with terrible pregnancy body odor. You wear loose cotton clothing. You bathe frequently. You use deodorant or antiperspirant. You change out clothes as needed, and you keep things hairless and dry in problem areas like the armpits and groin.
But have you forgotten to consider keeping this odor-fighting battle going at night?
You may go to bed fresh and clean only to wake up with moisture plus bacteria equaling stinky (or the foundation for stinky) as you go about your pregnant day.
Some choose to put on antiperspirant as soon as they get out of the shower and wear it, essentially, at all times.
I’d be careful about putting it on right after shaving in the shower, though – many antiperspirant labels caution against applying the stuff to broken skin.
5Purchase A Product
Some gals don’t even feel the need to bother with antiperspirant in their day-to-day lives. Many people work in air-conditioned offices or live in homes with quite comfortable temperatures most of the year and don’t exert themselves enough to get sweaty throughout the day. A deodorant (which smells nice but doesn’t actually control perspiration, aka sweating) or simply showering every day might have done the trick.
If pregnancy proves to be a particularly sweaty or even smelly time for you, though, how about going ahead and going for an antiperspirant of adequate strength to help keep things dry and fresh in the underarm area?
You might want to avoid buying the value pack, though, until you know for sure that the particular fragrance of the product you’ve chosen sits well with your (possibly very sensitive) pregnant-lady sense of smell.
4Go More Natural
I started getting a little nitpicky about the chemicals in my makeups, body-care products, home-cleaning products, water bottles, and, well, just about everything when I was pregnant and breastfeeding (and I still am doing that).
Even if the doctor said he wasn’t concerned about a regular antiperspirant on my underarm skin being so nearby to my little baby, I kind of was (concerned, that is).
That’s why I chose, for a time, to switch to a product marketed as being more natural. (Also, the aluminum in regular antiperspirants would sometimes majorly irritate my underarm skin, particularly after shaving.)
Tom’s is one brand, and they sell it at Trader Joe’s (and I’m not being paid by either of those companies to say this). There are other options out there, too. These less chemically options may be a good choice for a mom who’s a bit wary of ingredients she can barely pronounce yet still wants to control her BO.
3Make A Real-Deal Remedy
I haven’t tried this one, myself, but some natural mamas swear by making their own deodorant.
Baking soda is a cheap and effective odor fighter, so that’s included in many of the recipes you can quite easily research online. Various natural oils may be included that soothe and hydrate the skin and smell nice, to boot.
(Side note: I’d use caution as far as which oils you rub on your sensitive pregnant skin, particularly if you normally have particularly sensitive skin or allergies.)
This might be a great route, as well, for those hoping to save a bit of money. ’Cause, dude, deodorant is pretty expensive! Unless you buy the bulk pack at Costco or something, you’re in for, what, 5 bucks a pop?
And when you’re preparing to have a baby, it can be a great time to think of ways to save some money.
2Don’t Forget Foot Funk
You may tend to sweat more everywhere during pregnancy, and there’s only so much you can do about that. In most social situations, you kind of have to wear shoes and clothes, and there’s bound to be some moisture trapped and some bacteria on the skin that then create a stinky smell.
So don’t forget to wash your feel, too!
Wearing socks might help, as well, because you can change those out and wash them instead of allowing moisture and bacteria to build up in the lining of your shoes. And hey, how about even cleaning or washing your shoes, too?
I feel like a good amount of people out there neglect their feet in this culture of so much showering. They don’t soak them in a bath or even wash or scrub them with soap like they do the rest of their bodies.
But if preventing body odors is the goal, don’t forget the feet!
1Up The Bathing Game
Sorry to say, but it could be that your old bathing schedule just isn’t cutting it anymore.
If pregnancy becomes a particularly smelly time for you, you might just want to try simply showering or bathing more often.
I know, it sounds simple – and that is the beauty of it.
It’s not possible or practical, in many cases, to shower or bathe more than (or even as much as) once a day – and it’s certainly not a great way to conserve precious water, so consider that a wet washcloth used on problem areas might also do the trick. Bathing doesn’t necessarily have to mean using gallons and gallons of clean water.
Yep, when odor is the problem, a bit of warm water and soap may just be the simplest solution.
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