The fourth trimester can be lovely at times, but it also comes with a lot of changes both emotionally and physically. You might discover a new food aversion, get pimples for the very first time, or suffer from a distinct postpartum body odor. The good news is, all of these things are totally normal.
Postpartum body odor was one of the things that came as a surprise to me in the weeks after bringing my baby home. Nobody had warned me about this (less than desirable) body change, which is why I am here to let you know you aren’t the only one! And, there are steps you can take to minimize the issue.
What causes postpartum odor?
Postpartum body odor occurs in the days and weeks following childbirth for various reasons. One of the main reasons for this is that your body was storing a lot of fluid while pregnant; amniotic fluid, hemoglobin, and other fluids. When you are no longer pregnant, your body has to expel these fluids. For many new moms, this results in a little extra sweating than usual and this body odor.
I have also heard that postpartum body odor can be a part of bonding with your new baby. A shift in a woman’s postpartum odor helps direct your baby to you for breastfeeding. Basically, your infant is coming to your breast because of your strange odor. Mothers emit various pheromones while breastfeeding, and these can serve as a means of communication with the baby. Additionally, the infant’s saliva contributes to the smell.
Similar to adolescence, hormonal changes might also result in body odor. The hormonal changes after pregnancy can be the source of any change in body odor postpartum.
Additionally, you’re probably not taking as many showers as you should. You can also be exposed to smells like spit-up and other things you’re not used to from your baby. Postpartum body odor can also be caused by discharge, bleeding, and a slew of other enjoyable postpartum biological secretions. According to gynecologists, vaginal fragrance may fluctuate due to variations in the pH, old blood in the vagina from lochia, wetness, and vaginitis due to hormone changes.
How to manage postpartum body odor and sweat
The sensation of smell is enhanced during pregnancy, and this enhancement may last after delivery. The good news is that you probably don’t smell as bad as you think. Regardless, here are some quick tips to calm your senses and your mind while reducing strong smells.
1. Maintain proper hygiene
The easiest strategy to cope with postpartum odor is to have a few additional showers in your schedule. I know this is easier said than done, but a shower can be a good way for you to take a minute to yourself as well.
I recommend speaking to your partner before the baby arrives and setting up a schedule so you both have the time you need to take care of yourselves.
2. Drink water frequently!
First of all, it’s critical to drink enough water while nursing. Keeping up with your water intake will also help to remove toxins from your body and thus helps in masking postpartum body odor. Moreover, consuming extra water will increase the release of liquids through urine as opposed to sweat.
Having a good water bottle makes this 10x easier, I swear.
3. Dress in breathable materials
Sweat management is made easier with clothing composed of permeable materials. These are extremely useful for nighttime sleep!
4. Use a towel as a pillow
So many new moms experience night sweats, which can be frustrating and add up to extra laundry. Sleeping on a towel can solve the extra laundry problem and keep you more dry since towels are meant to wick moisture away.
5. Steer clear of cruciferous veggies and meals high in sulfur
Cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage and foods high in sulfur (like red meat and cumin) could worsen postpartum odor.
When recovering from childbirth, you might want to cut back on these foods.
6. Avoid using stimulants like caffeine and alcohol
Sweating is induced by alcohol and stimulants such as coffee. During postpartum, stay away from foods and beverages that include these things.
7. Use vinegar made from apple cider
Natural antibacterial and antiseptic properties exist in apple cider vinegar. As a result, it can aid in eliminating microorganisms that generate odor on the skin. I know of some moms who had success using an apple cider vinegar-based soap.
The postpartum phase, or the fourth trimester, is thought to last for approximately 12 weeks following delivery. Therefore, moms should ideally start smelling better from around this point. However, I can tell you from personal experience that it took my body six to eight months to seemingly regulate back down after the rapid increase in body odor.
It’s common to experience various postpartum body scents after giving birth. Don’t be humiliated or embarrassed by it. Your hormones will most likely settle on their own so in the meantime maintain good hygiene, dress comfortably, use a natural & safe deodorant, and try not to worry too much! Your body just did an incredible thing, give yourself some grace.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is my body odor worse after pregnancy?
Postpartum body odor occurs in the days and weeks following childbirth for various reasons, typically excess fluid needing to be expelled and your hormones.
How do you get rid of body odor after pregnancy?
Your hormones will likely settle on there own eventually and the body odor will go away but in the meantime maintain good hygiene, dress comfortably, use a natural & safe deodorant, and try not to worry too much!
How long does postpartum smell last?
The postpartum phase, or Fourth trimester, is thought to exist for approximately 12 weeks following delivery. Therefore, moms should ideally start smelling better from around this point. I can tell you from personal experience that it took my body six to eight months to seemingly regulate back down after the rapid increase in body odor.
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