Coping With Smells During Pregnancy

One of the strangest symptoms of pregnancy for many women is a hypersensitive sense of smell. Doctors blame the phenomenon on hormones but don't have a clear understanding of the mechanism that causes the change. Regardless of how it happens, the combination of fine-tuned fragrance detection and a tendency toward nausea can make life really unpleasant for some mothers-to-be. Here are some ideas for coping with this strange miracle of pregnancy.

Ask For Help

If you don't tell your coworkers or your family that you're struggling with smells, they will continue to stand next to you eating sushi, wearing too much perfume, or applying scented hand lotion. Don't wait until a problem arises to make your needs known. It's much harder for people to receive information when they feel like they're being chastised, and they might even get defensive and decide that you are overreacting. Tell them what kinds of things bother your sensitive sniffer before a problem arises, and hand out gentle reminders as needed.

Pack A "Nosegay"

Cities used to smell horrible. Lack of deodorant, inadequate sewage systems, and feral animals roaming the streets could create a stew of odors, so people often carried a small nosegay, or bouquet of fragrant flowers or herbs to sniff for relief. You might want to revive this custom. Seek out strong smells that don't upset your stomach — lemon, mint, and ginger are safe bets for most pregnant women. Pick up a scented lip balm or soap to carry with you, or keep a baggie of your favorite fresh-smelling ingredient in your purse.

Freshen Your House Naturally

Most mothers-to-be say that chemical air fresheners and overpowering candles don't smell good to them. It's better to keep your home smelling fresh in natural ways. Open the windows when the weather allows to air out the house, keep musty odors at bay with a dehumidifier, and change your HVAC filters often.

Keep Down Odors

You may need to keep your home even cleaner than usual during this phase of your pregnancy. Doing laundry and taking out the trash more often can be a big help in keeping down household odors. Put a fresh box of baking soda in your fridge, seal strong-smelling foods in airtight containers, and put leftovers in the freezer before you throw them out so they won't give off odors when you lift the lid.

Go Fragrance-Free

Now is a good time to eliminate a lot of fragrances from your daily life, which is a good health decision for your whole family due to the toxic ingredients used in scented products. Change your deodorant, soaps, and other toiletries. You'll be surprised how much cleaning you can get done with nothing but a good microfiber cloth and water. 

Here's one final tip: While you're trying to eliminate problem smells from your life, don't forget to enjoy the upside of your heightened sense of smell. Plan a trip to the botanical garden, fill your home with flowers, and cook with lots of fresh herbs to make the most of your new superpower.

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