Pregnancy's Freaky Super Sense of Smell

It’s really quite conceivable that even before you officially knew you were pregnant, your nose started to give you one big hint that you possibly were. A freaky super sense of smell is one of the main pregnancy symptoms that goes into overdrive in a big way, right from the very start of your nine month miraculous pregnancy journey.

Yes, carrying a baby is truly miraculous - but some of the signs and indications that come with this miracle aren’t quite so much, if you know what I mean. Along with those magnificent manifestations comes the freaky super sense of smell that has you feeling like you absolutely need to be walking around with a clothespin on your nozzle just to get through the day.

Super smell powers in pregnancy are part and parcel of the heightening of all of your sensory perceptions. From taste sensitivity to skin that all of a sudden reacts to your favorite body lotion, your sense of smell rears up suddenly with an unstoppable force. What’s with that? What used to be your number one choice of salad dressing for your kale and cucumber mix just doesn’t cut it anymore. 

So whether it’s food smells, diaper pail odors or the scent of perfume that’s got your sense of smell freaking out and causing chaos, we’ve got some interesting stats and tips on just why this pregnancy symptom occurs and how to handle the super smell powers you’ve been dealt.

7 First Trimester Sensitivity

The theory behind the first trimester freaky super sense of smell is that nature, in all of its wonder, is helping you to reject foods that are high in bacteria content or toxins, which could harm the fetus during this critical stage of development.

Mother nature has always been pretty awesome when it comes to the whole pregnancy odyssey - at least you can take solace in the fact that your pregnancy is going as it should, you know? Sensitivity to smell is just one more part of this wonderful journey, and the fact that you have this wacky symptom just verifies that all is on track.

You don’t have to feel alone here, because statistics show that 85% of expectant moms say they are repelled by certain foods, especially in the first trimester. For some, it’s an aversion to a specific taste, while for others it is an aroma that turns them off.

Your Sense of Smell Is Almost As Good As a Blood Hound's

For many moms-to-be, the extreme sensitivity to odors, whether strong or subtle, combines with nausea and results in pretty heavy duty morning sickness. That’s not to say that the nausea you are feeling will not last all day. It’s been known to happen to many expectant moms. 

Take a look on the bright side though, most moms report that the super sense of smell abates in the second semester. But I would be remiss if I did not mention that the super sense of smell could last through the entire nine months.

6 Superpower Source: Hormones

Aside from the theory of our bodies naturally avoiding toxins and bacteria, is the knowledge that hormones play a part in the freaky rise of superpower smell abilities.

Yes it’s true, hormones can be blamed for the fact that you can no longer stand the smell of your beloved dog (who always smelled just fine before you got pregnant). Or like me, your all time favorite salad just can’t be enjoyed anymore. And please don’t sit within ten feet of me if you are eating a caesar salad either.

All joking aside, the hormone Human Chorionic Gonadotropin or hCG, is known for developing at a very intense rate in the first trimester of pregnancy in particular, and because it is associated with the symptom of nausea, it goes without saying that we can correlate this hormone with smell sensitivity.

hCG is Not Your Friend

Also famous for it’s contribution to pregnant women feeling downright disgusting is estrogen. Estrogen can be attributed to many things a pregnant woman has to deal with, nausea and sensitivity to smell being at the top of the list.

If you have certain food aversions resulting from your super power sense of smell, try to replace the fare with comparable items, so as to not lose the important nutrient value that is so important to your growing bundle of joy. For example, if you can’t stand the smell of milk right now, try yogurt as a calcium replacement. 

Veggies just not making it on the plate? Supplement with other beta carotene rich foods such as cantaloupe or mango.

5 Smells That Bother You

Experts say that if you have nausea during pregnancy, it relates to a lower risk of miscarriage. Therefore, if some smells are causing you to shudder, and make you feel like heaving or hiding in the bathroom, than it is not all bad, is it? Everything is going just great.

Make no mistake, 40% of women in their first trimester find that cooking odors, cigarette smoke, spoiled food and perfume are the worst culprits when it comes to smell sensitivity. Beans, fish (take supplements instead because the Omega 3 is pretty important) and eggs are up for grabs, too. 

Just When You Start to Question Your Own Humanity...

You're not alone when it comes to your superpower sense of smell; I bet if you throw the question out there in your prenatal yoga class, you would have many willing comrades to compare notes with, and for sure, they will be asking you for tips on how to combat this dilemma, too.

If garbage day has you hibernating in the house from sun up to sun down, or you find yourself only able to prepare dry toast and tea for the family meal, branch out of your superhero state and ask for some help. For starters, have hubby cook dinner for a few weeks until you can get a handle on being in the kitchen again. 

4 Phantom Smells

Going forward on the aromatic topic of your freaky super sense of smell, did you know that phantom smells can be a part of the picture, too?

That’s right - many moms-to-be report that they have an aversion to smells that aren’t even really there. Most of the time these “all in your head” scents are the rotten kind. Yep, that’s it - expectant moms who experience the phantom smell mystery, all have the distinct recollection of those smells being distinctly rotten or unpleasant. No such thing as a pleasant phantom smell, sorry to say.

A definite yucky smell is the leader of the pack here; we’re sad to report that the scent of a pretty rose or a field of daisies aren’t what’s in store. More like stinky diapers or rotten eggs, if you want to be in the know.

The Scent Source You Can't Find

Scientifically known as phantosmia (olfactory hallucinations), which some may find to be somewhat of a stretch, is for certain, an actual encounter that a few expectant moms face.

Fortunately, those of us who have this to deal with on top of the nausea and superpower sense of smell already present, have hope in the news that the phantom smell dilemma usually dissipates by the second trimester and almost definitely by the third. So not to worry, Rover will start to smell just like he always did, sooner rather than later.

3 Avoid an Empty Stomach

Key tricks to combating the nausea which accompanies your freaky super sense of smell are the use of salt (in moderation, of course), regulating your blood pressure and most importantly, avoiding an empty stomach. If your sense of smell is beginning to wreak too much havoc with your life, take note and try to deal with the dilemma by hitting it head on.

Salt: We all know that the use of salt is a tried and true aid to fighting nausea when it hits. If your super sense of smell has you running for the bathroom every time you smell your neighbor’s favorite bar-b-que ribs on the grill, grab a handful of pretzels or some saltine crackers to nibble on, to try and repel the squeamishness.

Regulate your blood pressure: The variance of our blood pressure during pregnancy can cause us to have heart palpitations one minute and spells of dizziness the next, which when combined with smells that bother us, can push us to our limit. 

Prevent Your Nose From Ruining Your Pregnancy

What can we do to try and keep our blood pressure in check? Keep well hydrated by drinking plenty of water - I know, you already have to pee often enough - but hey, this really works and is good for our digestion also. As well, don’t rise up too quickly from a rest and take every opportunity you have during the day to grab some fresh air.

Avoid an empty stomach by keeping those saltines and pretzels near by, and don’t forget to snack on healthy items that you find palatable. This advice works for morning sickness, too.

2 When Scents Don’t Make Sense

When your freaky super sense of smell causes other odor related issues to arise, have no fear, we have plenty of tips lined up.

Many expectant moms have complained of countless scents that put their nose out of joint. Does your adored perfume now sit in a drawer? How about that lilac scented laundry soap? Switch over to unscented laundry products (you’ll want to do that when baby comes along anyway), and if need be wash your clothes, sheets, throw rugs and towels often to rid them of any lingering scents that may be present. 

We agree, not so great for the environment to be washing items over and over that may not need it, but in reality it’s just for a short while, until your nose gets it’s groove back.

Even Cleaners Bother Your Super Nose

As for those very necessary household cleaners, if truth be known, it is best to use unscented, natural products to boot, to ensure that you are not inhaling chemicals or odors that can harm your developing baby. Bonus - safer for you and babe, and considerably less irritating to your high-strung senses.

Make it front page news to your loving hubby and send him on the shopping excursion for replacement household products and cleaners - after all, you know what those aisles are like in the stores. 

One whiff of the overwhelming variation of fragrances, and you will need to get your nose out of there pronto. It is best to avoid closed areas and besides, do you really think you can handle standing in line behind that lovely lady who is wearing half a bottle of perfume?

1 Kate, Candles, and Other Options

One famous new mom that I think is just sweet is Kate Middleton. How can anyone look like that 10 hours after giving birth? You know, when she and William presented Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana to the public as they left the hospital?

Well, we all know Kate’s struggles with nausea; they were to the extreme for sure. I know she was hospitalized for her and babe’s safety but apparently when she came back home, candles were the solution to help ease the troubles compounded by smell sensitivities. Go ahead and light some candles around the home, by all means taking care to make sure they are scents that your nose will find nice - not nauseating. 

That goes without saying, right? Studies have shown that amild aromatic candle will help mask other odors in the home that may be enhanced by your freaky super sense of smell.

If you want to add air fresheners to a room, surround yourself with scents such as ginger, lemon, and mint which are mild, soothing scents for those of us provoked by this zany pregnancy symptom.

Smell the Roses and Not the Fertilizer

Keep windows open for a nice blasts of fresh air, unless it is garbage day obviously. Having your home open to fresh breezes and not all closed up, will enable you to feel freer, more energetic, and less penned in with the normal aromas of your home that normally do not offend you.

Eat several small, healthy meals throughout the day to combat nausea exacerbated by your superpower senses. We know it may be difficult right now to consume as much food as you would like. For sure, it is hard to eat when so many food odors are a turn off. Do your best, and try not to worry too much. In no time, you will be able to make up for any slight you may have had to make in your daily nutrient intake.

Take extra B6 and B12. B6 in particular assists in the production of serotonin, which can help your mood. At this point, everything positive that we do for our bodies is a bonus for our developing baby, too. Whether it is your sense of well being or your diet and exercise regimen, everything we can do to bring ourselves up to snuff is a step forward in our journey to motherhood. 

Always check with your health practitioner before adding supplements to your diet. Mention your sensitivity to odors at your next prenatal appointment; maybe your doctor will have suggestions in addition to ours.

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