There are many symptoms associated with pregnancy, but one that stands out amongst the rest is that of a woman’s hyper-sensitive sense of smell. If truth be told, the sense of smell happens to be sensitive to the point that people have actually labeled it ‘pregnancy nose.’ When my wife was pregnant, she got really lucky for the most part and had a fairly routine pregnancy with our son five years ago.
Yes, she suffered from intense heartburn and was very uncomfortable towards the end, but she wasn’t as sick or miserable at any point. But while she didn’t have to deal much with morning sickness, there were a few things that totally made her gag – certain smells that she simply could not tolerate.
The heightened sense of smell that women have during pregnancy is a funny thing. Believe it or not, pregnancy is what you can call a ‘beautiful hell.’ At times you feel on top of the world, and then there are times when something as ‘routine’ as your husband’s cologne will make you gag and leave you feeling as if you’re about to die. When it comes to the worst things to smell during pregnancy, here’s a list of the most gag-worthy smells for pregnant women:
7 Your Husband’s Cologne
Although I’ve been wearing the same cologne and deodorant for as long as I can remember and my wife has always liked its smell, it became unbearable for her once she got pregnant. Just a whiff of it would set off her nausea to the point that was just unbelievable. All through her pregnancy I was not allowed to wear any scents if I wanted to be in the same room as her.
A few people thought it was rather ‘controlling’ of her, but hey, I felt bad for her because my cologne made her run to the washroom each time I wore it. Most pregnant women that me and my wife have come across were about to projectile vomit each time they smelt someone’s cologne, including their husband’s. Their one demand – STOP USING THAT PERFUME. The worst part is that in most cases, their noses can smell out the scent even hours after it has gone away. Inhale, wretch.
On top of it all, it isn’t just colognes that make them throw up – even things like lotions and creams at the tiniest, most microscopic level tend to make them wretch like there’s no tomorrow!
A mere molecule of perfume
Perfumes are supposedly the MOST gag-worthy smell for most pregnant women out there. As my wife once put it, even a mere molecule of perfume can make many moms-to-be rush to the washroom to throw up. In my wife’s case, I remember her rushing around opening all the doors and windows of our home to get the ‘smell’ out if I mistakenly used my cologne and deodorant indoors. So if you suddenly have hatred towards perfumes during pregnancy, you’re not the only one!
6 Food Products
You’re going to have a love-hate relationship with food once you get pregnant. One day you will find yourself craving for something and the next day you will find yourself gagging at even the mere thought of it. That amazing smell of coffee used to get you out of bed in the morning all set to tackle the day, but all it does now is drive you to the toilet bowl ready to throw up last night’s dinner.
Of course, the worst offenders are foods that have a lingering smell and are a bit pungent – think curry, onions, garlic and the like. But there are quite a few other smells as well that you may find hard to stomach for no apparent reason whatsoever. These include things like fried items, spaghetti sauce and heavily flavored syrups.
One of the most irritating smells that have been reported by pregnant women includes that of garlic. They’re literally nature’s stinky smelly feet. The worst part about garlic is that anyone who eats it has the smell lingering around them for weeks – at least for pregnant women who can smell things even after they’ve long vanished for us non-pregnant humans.
The smell of cooking meat
In my wife’s case, I took over cooking duties as the smell of food made her sick and the only thing she kept telling me was, “For the love of God, don’t use garlic when cooking” – and brushing my teeth like mad didn’t make things any better if I ever made the horrible mistake of having garlic.
The smell of cooking meat continues to change every now and then. At one time, you may find chicken smelling really good. At other times, you may find it rather disgusting. The smell, hence, is totally unpredictable and when it smells bad to a pregnant woman, it can lead to a severe bout of nausea!
5 Pets Can Smell Too
The thing with most pet smells is that they happen to be on the rather repulsive end even on a non-pregnant day – imagine your pet cat yawning right at your face, or your dog panting right next to your face and you’ll know what I’m talking about. When you get pregnant, these smells are literally going to get multiplied and will make you nauseous. The worst smells in this regard are wet dog smell, your dog’s breath and kitty litter – feel like puking now? Please go ahead!
Being pregnant is not easy, and when you start feeling sick because of the way your loved ones, including your pets, smell, things can definitely get worse. Me and my wife are serious animal lovers and have always had pets around. The same holds true for most of our friends. While my wife found it hard to accomplish tasks like changing the cat’s litter box, curbing and walking the dog, other pregnant women in our circle stated that they found their lovely pets simply ‘gross’ in terms of their smell.
To make things easier for yourself, try to avoid cleaning the cat’s litter (get someone else to do it) and make sure that your dog doesn’t pant near you or give you a lick!
Things to avoid
If you have become overly sensitive to animal smells, then it is highly recommended for you to stay away from farms, zoos and animal shelters. Yes this might be a bit overboard, but you need to take a few steps to reduce your bouts of nausea. If need be, stay away from your pet as best as possible too - for instance, don’t let your cat enter your bedroom so that the smell doesn’t follow you there.
4 Bad Breath – Breath Itself
Bad breath is gross, but there are certain other smells as well that can tick off a pregnant woman when on someone’s breath. What smells are those you ask? Well, think along the lines of cigarettes, booze and seafood. In my wife’s case, just about every sort of breath was unbearable for her. What made matters worse was that she could smell ANYONE’S breath from ANY distance – no matter how near or far, she could smell things no one else could.
Be it my breath or a stranger’s breath at the grocery store – she could not stand it. If I ate an onion today, she could smell it next week too. By smelling my breath she could unlock events of the day, and then she would rush to the bathroom to throw up. The worst part about bad breath aversion is that most pregnant women can have bad breath themselves.
Also known as ‘pregnancy-induced halitosis,' the condition typically surprises many first time mothers-to-be when they experienced nausea and unpleasant tastes in their mouths from smelling their own bad breath. If this is what you are facing right now, you can assure yourself that taking a bit of additional care can go a long way in resolving this issue. For the record, there are many different reasons behind this condition in pregnant women. These include:
- Morning sickness (all that vomiting can trigger bad breath)
- Changes in hormones
- Calcium deficiency
- Lifestyle changes
A few remedies
To rid yourself of bad breath, it is highly recommended for you to practice superior oral care. For this, you should brush at least twice a day, floss daily and rinse your mouth. You should also use breath mints and drink plenty of water.
No matter how bad my wife hated the smell of toothpaste during her pregnancy, she was committed to brushing her teeth twice a day. However, she had a pregnant friend who actually went weeks without it. You read that right – WEEKS without brushing her teeth. For her, the smell and taste of toothpaste was pure venom. It nauseated her and made her puke like nothing else could.
If anything, there’s a good chance that brushing your teeth during pregnancy is going to feel like you’ve just stuck a toilet plunger down your throat. There’s no better way to describe it. It’s one of the mintiest, most hellish suffering you will experience in your life. The same can be said for citrus fruits – they were a major source of nausea for my wife at least.
Back to toothpaste now; although it’s supposed to make you feel fresh, the nausea that will strike upon its usage is inevitable too. For most women, it’s the strong mint that triggers nausea, so if this is the case for you, switch to a cinnamon toothpaste instead to be able to enjoy brushing your teeth again.
Tips to make brushing easier for you
If you find it hard to brush your teeth during pregnancy, it’s highly recommended for you to try using a soft small-headed toothbrush instead. Also, try brushing a bit later in the morning when you may not gag as much to make things easier. Also, when cleaning your back teeth, try to focus as much as possible on your breathing so as to avoid gagging.
2 Chemicals and Household Cleaners
I’d like to add things like nail polish, paint, household cleaners and gasoline to this category. All of these things can prove to be rather harmful upon being sniffed. This is the reason why all of these bottles are labeled to use them in well-ventilated areas. However, there are people who actually like their smell and if you are one of them, things are about to change now that you are pregnant.
Yes, even if you liked these smells, there’s a good chance that you’re about to start hating them during pregnancy. Now that they bother you, it’s best for you to avoid them as best as possible. With your heightened sense of smell, it will be easily possible for you to reduce the amount of environmental toxins that your unborn baby is exposed to in the womb.
That’s a major benefit I must say. This exponentially increased sense of smell that you now have will serve as a ‘survival instinct’ for you so that you avoid dangerous situations for your developing baby. Whenever you come across something that smells noxious or caustic, rest-assured that it is dangerous for your unborn baby and you should avoid the environment that houses the said smell.
A built-in purpose
Research studies have concluded that the smell aversions experienced by pregnant women have a built-in purpose – they are repelled by smells that may be harmful to them and their babies during pregnancy. For instance, alcohol is quick to make a woman gag and don’t we all know how harmful its consumption can be during pregnancy?
1 Smells That Can Be Normally Avoided
Yes, there’s an entire category of smells that we, as humans, don’t normally like to smell – and for pregnant women, these smells tend to get worse. This would include smells like the litter box, the garbage etc. For pregnant women, what makes things different is that of the physical reaction they tend to have to the smells together with the ‘level’ of smell required to trigger such an extreme reaction.
As your pregnancy continues to progress, there’s a good chance that you may end up having to take the garbage out more frequently or use something that you can tolerate to mask any odors around your place. If taking out that garbage makes you feel nauseated, it is best for you to regulate this chore to someone else.
Just because you’ve regulated the task of taking out the garbage can to someone else doesn’t mean you won’t have one in your kitchen anymore. Many pregnant women reported that they could not tolerate the smell of the garbage can since they were 5 weeks pregnant – and this continued for them all through their pregnancy.
Nature can smell too
So what should you do in such a case? Start off by getting someone else to take out the garbage can for you. Next, make sure that your home is well-ventilated so that any smells that may come off the garbage can would not linger on around your place.
A few other things that can make pregnant women gag include ‘natural’ stuff like fresh cut lawns and new spring flower buds. Yes, these are popular offenders that have made many moms wear a mask when they go outdoors just so they can avoid the smells they once loved so dearly!