Smell Sensitivity in Pregnancy: Causes and Dealing Ways

You are suddenly oversensitive to the smell of a favorite perfume. You notice how awful your favorite cookies smell. And you can’t stand the smell of your best friend. But you can’t get enough of the smell of the perfume in boots. Well, you are pregnant! Didn’t know? Perhaps you need to take a test. And while a pregnancy-enhanced sense of smell does not affect every woman, it is quite common for women to be sensitive to smells during pregnancy.

Why Are You Sensitive to Smells in Early Pregnancy?

It boils down to hormones. Again? Yes!

It turns out that hormonal changes are responsible for a lot of issues during pregnancy. Hormones, especially estrogen, cause your nose to be extra sensitive to smells. This has been proven through studies, which have also found that this heightened sensitivity affects the olfactory centre in women who are not pregnant. Researchers, however, have no idea how this happens.

Levels of Sensitivity Differ for Everyone

Every woman’s pregnancy is different. For this reason, the level of your nose’s sensitivity is uniquely your own. It is a case of what pleases one woman disgusts another. And it doesn’t matter whether you liked or hated a smell before you got pregnant; the opposite can happen when you are expectant. And because you can’t change the way your hormones work inside of you, the best you can do is to find out which smells are nauseating and which ones are pleasing. This way you can avoid the bad and seek out for the good.  

Can Certain Smells Trigger My Morning Sickness?

Being sensitive to smells early pregnancy has some association with morning sickness. It is approximated that 75 percent of pregnant women suffer from morning sickness, and according to a majority of them, certain smells act as triggers.

Getting a whiff of the nauseating smell will easily set you on the path to pregnancy sickness. Your brain maintains this memory so that the next time you come across this smell, it sets off an alarm to restart the sickness. The triggering smells differ between women. One interesting finding is that a woman who was born without the ability to smell (anosmia) is unlikely to suffer from pregnancy sickness. 

How to Deal with the Heightened Sense of Smell?

There is little you can do about the offending smells. However, once you know them, you can avoid these scents and this way, reduce your nausea attacks. Here’s how to do it:

  • Mind what you eat. Make sure that you cook, and ultimately eat, food whose smell does not affect you adversely. Don’t assume that you love an item of food before you got pregnant. If you now find the smell of broccoli or cabbage unbearable, don’t force it on yourself. Remember that being sensitive to smells early pregnancy is not something you choose.
  • Air your dwelling. As much as possible, keep windows open to allow healthy air circulation including exit of cooking odors.
  • Maintain a clean wardrobe. You may need to do laundry more often to rid clothes off possible nauseating odors.
  • Avoid deodorants. Some combinations of scents in personal and household products can make you feel sick. For this reason, you will need to take extra care about the products you use.
  • Request for consideration. Let those close to you know that you have sensitivity to certain smells. This way, they will mind the perfumes they wear, and other activities that may be offensive to your senses including smoking.
  • Enjoy the pleasant smells. Have the scents that you find pleasing around you. These may include lemon, mint, cinnamon and ginger. Having the pleasing smells can be soothing so that you get nauseated less often. You may also find scents of baby products such as baby powder, soothing.

Can I Prevent the Super Sense of Smell Early in Pregnancy?

Unfortunately, no! There is nothing you can do so that your nose becomes less sensitive to smells. Remember, the hormonal changes that brought it about will have to run their whole course. Just take heart and remember that it is a price that you are paying so that you can hold your beautiful baby in your hands.

When Will My Supper Sense of Smell Go Away?

For most mothers-to-be, the super-power sense of smell subsides long before childbirth. For others, it remains much longer, and for some, it only goes away after childbirth.

Smells to Avoid During Pregnancy

Because you are sensitive to smells early pregnancy, it is prudent to avoid possible offensive smells. This way, you will suffer from fewer nausea episodes. It is of course impossible to be aware of all nauseating smells. But there are some well known nausea triggering smells that you should avoid when pregnant.

These include:

1. Cigarette Smoke

Cigarette smoke causes nausea in many women during pregnancy. You can even take advantage of your elevated sense of smell in pregnancy to make a loved one quit smoking.

2. Strongly Smelling Foods

Avoid foods such as beans, eggs, fish and cheese. Foods with strong smells are known to trigger pregnancy sickness in many women.

3. Stinking Places

Avoid stinking odors like those found in dirty places, garbage bins, etc. These are not only unpleasant to pregnant women, but to everyone.

4. Laundry Powder

While you still have to work on the laundry, you need to be extra careful during pregnancy. You may be sensitive to smells early pregnancy when it comes to laundry powder. You can, however, choose an odor-free product.

All in all, take heart in the knowledge that your super-sensitive sense of smell will pass. Meanwhile, you can deal with it by carrying with you a handkerchief scented with a smell that is soothing to you!

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