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Heightened Sense of Smell in Pregnancy

A woman in position becomes very sensitive to tastes and smells. This is due to hormonal changes in the body and high levels of progesterone. It is the cause of most manifestations of toxicosis. This hormone distorts the perception of tastes and smells. A pregnant woman begins to overreact to aromas and unpleasant odors.

The appearance of increased olfactory sensitivity can provoke gag reflexes. It is difficult for a woman to restrain them if there is an irritant nearby.

When Does Heightened Sense of Smell Start in Pregnancy?

A woman notices the first signs of a heightened sense of smell at the beginning of the first trimester. This is the main signal that she is in an interesting position. The appearance of such a symptom is directly related to the onset of toxicosis. There is a hormonal surge, sensitivity increases and a period of intolerance to certain smells and tastes begins.


The heightened sense of smell begins from the 8th and lasts approximately until the 12th and 13th weeks. This symptom during pregnancy is associated with other manifestations of toxicosis: nausea, vomiting, and aversion to food.

The weeks in which there will be increased sensitivity to odors are determined by the level of progesterone. This symptom is not observed by the end of the first trimester.

Heightened Sense of Smell weeks in pregnancy

When will it end?

A strong reaction to odors goes synchronously with toxicosis. It happens gradually and not overnight. Symptoms weaken and then completely disappear. The end of the heightened sense of smell is the final weeks of the first trimester. Sensitivity to smells completely disappears after the 13th week. Intolerance to various odors ends after the woman’s body has fully adapted to hormonal changes.

How Heightened Sense of Smell Feels?

A heightened sense of smell greatly complicates the life of a pregnant woman during toxicosis. She feels closed in among continuous irritants. Previously unnoticeable odors become unbearable. A woman may experience a strong aversion to metal, especially when it is heated. It will stink although it was not felt before.

Pregnant women feel those aromas that are not available to ordinary people. This expands the range of vomiting-provoking factors.


A pregnant woman practically cannot exist normally with severe symptoms. She experiences disgust, nausea, and gag reflexes at the smell of food, perfume, tobacco, grass, smoke, and other things. Her olfactory receptors pick up the slightest aromas.


Odor intolerance in a pregnant woman is selective if the symptom is mild. Disgust arises only for a narrow list of fragrances. There are no gag reflexes. The woman is simply disgusted.

A heightened sense of smell does not require treatment and is a natural response to hormonal changes in a woman’s body.

Prevention methods

Some women are hypersensitive to any stimuli. It cannot be corrected or prevented. You can take preventive measures to reduce your heightened sense of smell during pregnancy if you do not have this feature. Consider some specific ways to prevent hypersensitivity to odors:

Avoidance of inflammatory processes

There may be a complete loss of smell or increased sensitivity to smells after rhinitis, sinusitis, and sinusitis. This symptom can persist for a very long period. Try to protect your health and prevent the occurrence of these diseases. The less often you suffer from inflammation of the nasal mucosa, the less sensitive your sense of smell will be.

Washing the sinuses

The best preventive method of protection against viruses and bacterial infections is nasal lavage. You can do this with special saline solutions. It is harmless and safe for health. This method cleanses the sinuses, improves immunity, and reduces the sensitivity of olfactory receptors to excess odors.

Remove strong chemicals with pungent odors

Try not to use detergents containing chlorine in your home. The smell of chlorine mercilessly corrodes the olfactory receptors. You can completely lose your sense of smell or get a completely distorted perception of smells for a short time. Do not use highly scented air fresheners, brightly scented laundry detergents, or other chemicals.

Why Heightened Smell Occurs in Pregnancy?

Among the causes and provoking factors of a heightened sense of smell, high levels of progesterone are primarily called. It relaxes the work of the muscular organs and distorts taste and olfactory perceptions. It does this by increasing the sensitivity of the olfactory receptors.

The reaction to smells in a woman under the influence of progesterone becomes selective. This is determined by the deficiency of trace elements in the body of the expectant mother.

Sometimes a woman’s body directly signals products that are harmful and dangerous to her and the fetus. For example, a woman will begin to experience an aversion to the smell of milk with an intolerance to dairy products. The body will begin to show a negative reaction to the smell of honey during pregnancy if there is an allergy to this product.


It is necessary to use only safe products approved for pregnant women to protect against a heightened sense of smell. It is possible to resort to some precautionary measures and specific methods of dealing with a temporary condition as an aid to such a symptom. Consider options for remedies and techniques to reduce the symptoms of an acute sense of smell.

Walks in the fresh air

It is recommended to walk in the fresh air during the period of toxicosis. This is an environment in which there are few irritants and factors that stimulate disgust. Walk in parks or somewhere in nature. Oxygen reduces the manifestation of toxicosis, improves well-being, and improves immunity. An alternative to walking is the constant airing of the room. Open the window if you can’t walk around.

Use of a respirator

It is better to refuse chemistry in everyday life. Be sure to use a respirator if this is not possible. This is important for maintaining a normal perception of smells and reducing the sensitivity of olfactory receptors. The respirator acts as a barrier between aggressive odors and your sense of smell. It protects the body from the toxic effects of detergents.

Exclusion of irritants

Remove irritants when a symptom of a heightened sense of smell occurs during pregnancy. Do not use aerosols, air fresheners, or caustic household chemicals. Try not to fry food in favor of steaming or boiling. Turn on the hood at full power to remove excess odors after cooking.


The reason for going to the doctor is a heightened sense of smell accompanied by swelling of the nasal mucosa. This may be a sign of the onset of respiratory diseases, an allergic reaction, or inflammation of the nasal mucosa.

The complete loss of odors or their cardinal distortion is a good reason to see a doctor. Such a symptom may indicate irreversible processes in the olfactory receptors. They often occur under the influence of powerful viruses.

What Not to Do

You should not try to deal with the symptom on your own when the heightened sense of smell is very pronounced. This is the main mistake that women in a position make. There is no need to resort to non-traditional methods of treatment, or incorrect use of essential oils or medications. What exactly should not be done with a heightened sense of smell:

Vasoconstrictor nasal drops

Most of the drugs to relieve swelling of the nasal mucosa are contraindicated for pregnant women. Use only what the doctor has prescribed.

The use of perfume

Refuse to use body fragrances during pregnancy or at least for the period of toxicosis. Strong odors can exacerbate the situation.

Refuse food

Don’t be influenced by hormones. An unpleasant smell should not affect your diet. Vitamin deficiency will lead to serious complications.

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