Sharing pregnancy experiences and fears with your close ones could be de-stressing. But sometimes, there are things that you may be apprehensive of sharing even with your spouse. One such issue is vaginal odor during pregnancy.
Odor or a foul smell from the vagina is usually unpleasant and embarrassing to talk about. But not talking about it even with your doctor is a bad idea and could build up unnecessary fears in you. Vaginal odor is common during pregnancy and should be addressed in time.
In this MomJunction post, we tell you about the causes of vaginal odor in pregnancy and some easy measures to reduce or eliminate the smell.
Is Vaginal Odor Normal During Pregnancy?
Whether a faint smell or a strong one, vaginal odor is normal in pregnancy. The smell could be fishy or ammonia-like due to the changes in the urine. Sometimes, the smell could be accompanied by a discharge too. If it is not bothering you much, you don’t have to worry about it. A few home remedies can help deal with it easily.
Continue reading to know what causes vaginal odor during pregnancy.
What Causes Vaginal Smell During Pregnancy?
The reasons for vaginal odor vary from case to case. For some, it could be due to lifestyle changes during pregnancy, while for others, it could be a result of infections.
- Bacterial vaginosis: It is an infection that could occur in pregnant women. In the early stages of this infection, there is vaginal odor followed by itchiness. If the condition is bothering you much, you should see a doctor (1).
- Monilia yeast infection: This infection could be a result of hormonal changes, lack of sleep, diabetes, tight-fitting underwear or clothes, or medications and treatments. Yeast infections are common in pregnant women and can result in unpleasant and strong odor (2).
- Abnormal vaginal discharge: Odorless vaginal discharge is usually common during pregnancy. But when you get a strong odor, it could be due to infections that can be treated (3).
- Poor hygiene: Wearing tight clothes, using chemical-based products, wipes, sprays, and not bathing for several days could also lead to vaginal odor.
- Hormonal changes and diet: Like most other pregnancy changes, the vaginal odor could also be due to the hormonal imbalance during pregnancy. Fluctuation in hormone levels, combined with a change in the dietary patterns during pregnancy, could cause a foul-smelling vagina.
The odor can be reduced or eliminated by following a few tips that target the underlying cause for it.
How To Get Rid Of Vaginal Odor When Pregnant?
Bad smell from your vagina should be taken care of in time. Otherwise, the condition may worsen. Here are some easy measures to take.
- Keep it clean: Avoid tight, synthetic clothing that does not absorb sweat and dampens the area. Instead, go for cotton panties and loose trousers. You can also change your panties once every few hours.
- Focus on the diet: If the vaginal odor is due to your dietary patterns, then try changing it. For instance, excess intake of sugary stuff or adding pungent ingredients such as garlic in your food may be avoided as they can cause vaginal odor. Increased consumption of vegetables and fruits is good. Have a lot of fluids, especially when exercising.
- Don’t use chemical products: Chemical substances that are used to clean the vaginal area can destroy the good bacteria and make the area susceptible to bacterial/yeast and other infections.
- Stay away from cosmetics: Sometimes, the vaginal smell could be a result of using soaps, scented sprays, and wipes. It is better to avoid these during pregnancy to prevent odor.
- Some more: Avoid douching, as it disrupts the balance of bacteria in your vagina. Wear panty liners or frequently change your underwear if you’re prone to urine leakage. If these remedies are not helping you, you should talk to a professional.
When To Visit The Doctor?
Usually, vaginal smell due to diet and hormonal changes can be treated at home. But you should contact your doctor in any of the following cases.
- When the odor continues for a long time, and none of the remedial measures is helping.
- When the odor is accompanied by unusual vaginal discharge.
- In case you experience redness, itching, inflammation, pain, or anything else that is troubling you.
Although vaginal issues such as odor are embarrassing, you can rest assured that they can be treated. Make sure you are following proper hygiene to reduce the bad smell from the vagina and also the chances of any vaginal infections. Simple precautionary measures and natural remedies will remove the need to use any medication during pregnancy. But if necessary, use medications as prescribed by the doctor to deal with the odor.
Did you have to deal with vaginal odor during pregnancy? Let us know in the comments section below.
2. Yeast Infections (Candida or Monilia); Family planning services
3. Monitoring vaginal discharge during pregnancy; Care point health (2015)