If you’ve ever bolted for the bathroom because your husband’s cologne—the one you bought him—suddenly makes you want to retch, you know all too well that pregnant women enjoy a razor-sharp sense of smell. Unfortunately, we smell in other ways, too. “Your whole aura changes when you’re pregnant, and that includes your personal aroma,” explains Miriam Greene, M.D., clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at New York University Langone Medical Center. “As your basal metabolic rate increases, so does blood supply to the armpits, vagina—everywhere.” Here are some common problem areas, along with pregnancy-safe solutions:
Your sweat glands are in overdrive, intensifying B.O. The good news: “You’re likely the only one noticing it,” Greene says.
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A stanky mouth might signal gum disease; it’s linked with preterm labor, so see your dentist STAT. Greene also points out that progesterone alters the angle between your esophagus and stomach, allowing stinky gastric juices to rise up. And 1 in 5 women will develop pregnancy rhinitis, aka a chronic stuffy nose; the resulting mouth breathing dries up saliva, allowing smelly bacteria to accumulate.
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An enhanced blood supply alters the pH balance of your lady bits, often resulting in a sweet, doughy or gluey scent—all of which are normal, Greene says. Avoid soap and “feminine” deodorants, which can cause irritation. If the odor is accompanied by redness, itching, burning or unusual discharge, you might have a yeast infection; a fishy, ammonia-type smell suggests bacterial vaginosis, which can trigger preterm labor. See your OB-GYN, who may prescribe an antifungal or antibiotic.
Try: Plain, warm water will keep you clean.