Body Odor During Pregnancy

A woman’s body chemistry changes when she is pregnant. But some changes can be quite embarrassing and difficult to deal with, and one such problem is bad body odor. Changes in diet, medications, body temperature, and hormones create imbalances that lead to body odor. The pregnant women may be so conscious of the smell that their mood and life may be affected. But body odor is quite normal during pregnancy and it is a problem you can cope with. Keep reading to find how to deal with body odor during your pregnancy.

Why Do You Have Body Odor During Pregnancy?

Understanding the underlying reasons for the foul odors is the first step in coping with them.

1. Change in Hormones

During pregnancy, the hormonal levels in your body change dramatically. As a result, your body produces increased quantities of a hormone called estradiol. It’s the main culprit and the reason for the pungent odor that permeates from your body. The areas that the odor mainly affects are the genitals and armpits.

2. Excessive Sweating

A woman’s body temperature rises during pregnancy. Carrying additional weight and becoming more insulated help keep us warmer, and pregnant women also have a lower tolerance dealing with heat, so even on colder days, they can sweat. Their sweat glands go into overdrive, intensifying the body odor. The sweat itself is odorless, but when the sweat settles on the skin, bacteria will begin growing, and this creates the bad odor.

3. Sensitivity to Odor

A pregnant woman’s sense of smell becomes heightened during pregnancy because of high levels of hormones in their bodies. Odors that never bothered them before can suddenly seem much more pungent or stronger, occasionally to the point of nausea. While others may or may not notice the odors, pregnant mothers sometimes are especially aware of it. You may merely be more sensitive to the changes than you were before you were pregnant.

4. Preparation for Breastfeeding

Blame body odor during pregnancy on evolution. After babies are born, their eyesight and hearing are somewhat poor, but they do have a keen sense of smell, meaning that they use their sense of smell as a way of recognition. As hard as it might be to understand, your baby recognizes you by your smell, so your body's natural instinct is to create a strong odor that is recognizable by baby. Odors from your armpits naturally encourage babies to turn their heads toward the breast for feeding.

5. Diet Change

Many pregnant mothers begin eating healthy, and change their diets accordingly. It turns out that there are certain foods that cause changes in body odor.

  • The amino acids in red meat can cause a change in the way sweat smells for a couple of hours or even a few days.
  • Seafood and fish can affect not only change the smell of sweat, but also vaginal discharge.
  • Broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower contain sulfur which is absorbed into the bloodstream and sweated to the surface of the skin where it mixes with bacteria creating foul odors.
  • Certain medications are known to cause bad body odor in pregnant women.


If you are experiencing any vaginal secretions other than a clear discharge, or your vaginal odor smells fishy, it may be due to a fungal or bacterial infection, contact your health care provider for treatment.

How to Deal with Body Odor During Pregnancy

  • Bathe Twice Daily: Take a shower or bath at least twice a day. Switch to antibacterial soap, which helps kill the bacteria that causes bad odor on the skin. Use a clean towel after each shower.
  • Freshen Your Skin: If taking a shower, fill a container with warm water and a couple drops of fresh lemon to wash with, and then rinse using another container filled with warm water and a bit of honey. This combination will help with your body odor, and the honey rinse leaves your skin feeling smooth and silky. If taking a bath, boil a bunch of mint leaves and add them to bath to add a fresh aroma on your body.
  • Shampoo Regularly: Shampoo your hair three times a week. Sprinkle some perfume on a brush or comb and run it through your hair to keep your hair smelling good for a longer time. Make sure to use a clean comb and brush, so that the sweat and dirt in your hair do not accumulate.
  • Stay Trimmed: Keep your underarms, pubic hair and bikini line trimmed. Pubic and underarm hair can trap bacteria on the skin and increases your chances of having a bad odor.
  • Use a Deodorant: Apply it on your underarms, and use talcum powder where appropriate. If you tend to sweat more than normal, aluminum-based antiperspirants are more effective. Make sure you carry your powder and deodorant with you wherever you go.
  • Wear Breathable Linens: Wear fabrics that are breathable, preferably linen and cotton. Avoid wearing the same clothes before they’re washed. To fight odor in the laundry, add 1/4 cup white vinegar in the rinse cycle. If your socks and underwear smell bad, then soak them in a solution of water and 1/4 white vinegar for 15 minutes before washing them.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids to help control body odor during pregnancy, including water to keep your system clean.
  • Eat Smart: Avoid eating onions, garlic and meat. Do eat more fruits and green vegetables, which will not only reduce body odor, but will also be healthy for the fetus.

Experience Sharing

"I never used to have to shower so often before I got pregnant. Only about 30-45 minutes after a shower, I'm starting to smell again. The odor under my arms is a lot mustier and stronger than before. Why is this happening, I can't find any deodorants that work. I feel dirty."

"I went through a phase were I smelled like onions or garlic. Drove me crazy, even when I was cold my pits would sweat, it was nasty. Not really anything I could about it." 

"I am pregnant and work closely with public. My female boss very gently put it forward to me that I smell and I needed to do something about it. I suddenly got a hot flush and rosy cheeks, making it worse. This is awful!"

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