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I’m Pregnant and Everything Smells Bad: A Comprehensive Guide

It’s a time of joy, expectation, and, sometimes, quite a bit of discomfort. Yes, we’re talking about pregnancy. One lesser-known symptom often reported by expectant mothers is an increased sensitivity to odors which can lead to the perception that “I’m pregnant and everything smells bad”. If you’re navigating through this overwhelming sensory journey, you’re not alone. This article will shed some light on why this happens and offer helpful solutions to manage this condition.

Understanding the Connection: Pregnancy and Enhanced Sense of Smell

Before we delve into why everything might smell bad when you’re pregnant, let’s take a quick look at why this heightened sense of smell occurs in the first place. During pregnancy, hormonal changes can enhance your olfactory senses, making you more sensitive to different smells. This can sometimes cause certain smells to become overpowering or unpleasant.

Common Triggers

  • Cooking smells
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Perfume and cologne
  • Cleaning products
  • Body odor

Managing “Everything Smells Bad” Syndrome During Pregnancy

Managing the “I’m pregnant and everything smells bad” phenomenon is all about finding what works best for you. Here are some tried-and-true strategies that have proven effective:

  • Keep windows open: Allow fresh air into your living spaces whenever possible.
  • Choose fragrance-free products: Opt for unscented cleaning supplies, soaps, and lotions.
  • Embrace the power of citrus: Many pregnant women find that the smell of lemons or oranges can help counteract unpleasant odors.
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help flush toxins from your body, possibly reducing odor sensitivity.

Understanding Pregnancy and Sense of Smell

Why does everything smell bad while pregnant?

During pregnancy, hormonal changes can heighten your olfactory senses, causing some odors to become more pronounced or even unpleasant.

Can pregnancy make you smell weird things?

Yes, the heightened sense of smell during pregnancy can make you more aware of various scents, including those you may not normally notice.

Why does everything smell bad to me suddenly?

This sudden change can be attributed to pregnancy hormones that enhance your sense of smell, making some previously neutral or pleasant odors seem foul.

When does smell sensitivity start in pregnancy?

Smell sensitivity typically begins in early pregnancy, often starting around the same time morning sickness begins, usually between the 4th and 6th week.

Managing Heightened Smell Sensitivity During Pregnancy

How can I get rid of smelly smells during pregnancy?

While you cannot entirely rid of all smells, strategies like keeping windows open for fresh air, using unscented products, and hydrating well can help manage unpleasant odors.

What helps with bad smell during pregnancy?

Staying in well-ventilated areas, eating citrus fruits, and avoiding strong-smelling foods can help. Some people also find relief by using a nasal saline spray.

Why do I smell bad even with good hygiene?

Pregnancy can alter your body’s hormonal balance, which can affect sweat and oil gland function, potentially leading to a different body odor, even with good hygiene.

How do I stop smelling weird?

Aside from maintaining good hygiene, wearing breathable fabrics and using unscented personal care products can help manage changes in body odor during pregnancy.

Special Cases and Concerns

Can you have phantom smells while pregnant?

Yes, hormonal changes can sometimes cause pregnant women to experience phantom smells, also known as olfactory hallucinations.

When should I see a doctor about phantom smells?

If phantom smells persist, are accompanied by other worrying symptoms, or significantly impact your quality of life, it’s wise to consult a healthcare professional.

Why do I keep getting a weird taste and smell?

A condition called dysgeusia, which alters your sense of taste, is common in pregnancy and can make foods taste different or give you a persistent metallic taste.

Pregnancy and Smell Sensitivity Timeline

When does smell sensitivity end in pregnancy?

For most women, smell sensitivity decreases or goes away entirely by the second trimester. However, it can continue throughout pregnancy for some.

Does your sense of smell go back to normal after pregnancy?

Typically, yes. After pregnancy, most women’s olfactory sensitivity returns to their pre-pregnancy level.

When does pregnancy smell go away?

The heightened sensitivity to smells typically decreases as your pregnancy progresses, often disappearing after giving birth.

Other Interesting Questions

Can dogs sense pregnancy?

While not directly related to smells, it’s worth noting that dogs, known for their superior sense of smell, may detect changes in your body’s scent during pregnancy, indicating they may be able to sense pregnancy.

Can you smell hCG?

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) is a hormone produced during pregnancy, but it doesn’t have a detectable smell. However, increased hCG levels can contribute to a heightened sense of smell.

How Can Help

When you’re pregnant and dealing with enhanced smell sensitivity, it’s not just your waking hours that can be affected. This sensitivity can impact your sleep quality too, making it more challenging to get the restful sleep you and your growing baby need.

At, we understand the unique challenges faced by expectant mothers. Our wealth of resources and expert advice can guide you in establishing better sleep habits, even amidst challenges like increased odor sensitivity.

Remember, a good night’s sleep isn’t just crucial for your health and well-being during pregnancy – it’s also key in preparing for the arrival of your baby. Once your little one arrives, having established good sleep hygiene can also make it easier to help them adopt healthy sleep patterns too.


Experiencing a heightened sense of smell, to the point where everything seems to smell bad, can be one of the more challenging aspects of pregnancy. But remember, this is a temporary phase. Use the tips shared above to manage this situation and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if it’s causing significant distress. And for the sleep-related aspects of your pregnancy journey, remember that is here to help.