My various body odors and breath have gotten out of control. Is that normal? What’s a safe way to mask the stinks?

Excerpt from Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

This smelliness is totally normal, but as I’m sure you’re tired of hearing from me, you should still tell your care provider just in case it’s an indicator of a special circumstance. But it’s probably related to the following pregnancy phenomena:

Dragon breath: Progesterone can impact the slant between your esophagus and stomach, causing smelly gastric juices to bubble up. In addition, many women develop pregnancy rhinitis (fancy term for a chronic stuffy nose), which can lead to mouth breathing, which dries out the saliva that staves off the buildup of pungent bacteria. Underarm funk: The increase in your basal metabolic rate causes an increase in your blood supply and body temperature, prompting sweat glands to go into overdrive.

Shift in vaginal fragrance: This is caused by a change in the vagina’s pH balance, which produces a sweet scent that’s often compared to the aromas of glue or dough. Sometimes an odd smell can be created by a yeast infection, which is often accompanied by redness, itching, burning, or strange discharge. If you have bacterial vaginosis, a fishy, ammonia-like aroma will waft about.

What to do

Know that you’re probably the only person who thinks you’re stinky. Because your nose is seriously sensitive to smell during pregnancy, the aromas floating up from your mouth, pits, and vagina are exaggerated by your smell receptor. However, we don’t want you gagging over your odors. Try out the following to soothe the stench:

  1. Do hygiene on the go. Keep organic, unscented feminine hygiene wipes to freshen up your vagina and armpits when you feel the moisture collecting. In addition, always have organic deodorant on hand. And since food stuck in the teeth and bacteria on the tongue can get stinky, store dental floss and a tongue scraper in your bag.
  1. Shower on the regular. Start your day with a shower that ends with a cool rinse, so you don’t start sweating before you’re done toweling off. If you find yourself sweaty, sticky, and stinky later in the day, don’t be shy about taking shower deux.
  1. Use natural antibacterial products. After showering, minimize a buildup of bacteria by wiping an apple cider vinegar toner (mix one part apple cider vinegar with two parts filtered water) on areas that collect sweat. And as honey, coconut oil, cinnamon, and cloves also have antibacterial properties, using body oil or lotion infused with these ingredients can minimize unpleasant odors.

In addition, friction removes bacteria — so use a coconut sugar scrub once a week. To make, melt one-half cup coconut oil in the microwave for about forty-five seconds, or until completely melted. Then, mix in one cup white sugar and transfer mixture into a mason jar.

  1. Wash clothes with distilled white vinegar. Pour a half cup of distilled white vinegar into your washing machine during the rinse cycle, as this liquid is great at deodorizing clothes.
  1. Drink water. As a dry mouth is a mega-manufacturer of bad breath, drink water on the regular. Add to the freshness by mixing in a few sprigs of mint and a squeeze of lemon.
  1. Snack out the stink. Noshing on leafy greens, celery, cucumbers, pears, apples, pineapple, cherries, melons, citrus fruits, parsley, basil, and spirulina (stick it in a smoothie to mask its taste) can help erase funky breath. In addition, staying away from too much garlic, onion, and curry reduces your pungency.
  1. Avoid scented products. As tempting as it is to mask smells with perfumed lotions and sprays, many chemically produced scents can irritate skin. If you really want to conceal the scent, mix one drop of organic lavender, rose, ylang ylang, grapefruit, sweet orange, or lemongrass essential oil with one teaspoon of a carrier oil like almond or jojoba oil, and rub on pulse points.

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