With early pregnancy comes all the questions, including “when will I get to hear my baby’s heartbeat?” and “why am I so darn tired?” Some women also begin to wonder about changes taking place in their nether region, like funky discharge and pelvic pains related to the human resting on your vagina. But what about your sense of smell? Many women report aversions to certain food odors, but a small percentage also start to pick up on their scent down below. But why does your vagina smell different in the first trimester?
“It is possible to have a distinct vaginal odor during pregnancy,” double board-certified OB-GYN and Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist Dr. Kecia Gaither tells Romper in an email interview. “Pregnancy is a time for hormonal changes — estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin all act in concert to get your uterus, cervix, and breasts ready for gestation and breastfeeding. Vaginal discharge — color and quantity, along with smell — can change.”
Gaither says pregnancy can also bring with it dietary changes as a result of medical reasons, like a special diet for gestational diabetes, or due to cravings — think garlic sandwich with pickles and ice cream on the side. “Given such, there are certain foods that can alter the vaginal odor, like coffee, garlic and broccoli,” she says.
While most of the time a less than favorable smell is not a problem, Gaither stresses that conditions like bacterial vaginosis can cause a fishy odor and would need to be evaluated by a medical provider, because left untreated, it can lead to preterm labor.
Dr. Sheeva Talebian, an OB-GYN at the New York branch of The Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine and co-founder of Truly-MD.com, tells Romper that women should also watch out for discharge that has a green or brown appearance, and seek medical attention if such a discharge should arise. “‘Normal’ pregnancy discharge does not have a notable odor,” she says.
Of course, whether it’s stinky smells or alien-like kicks, nothing about pregnancy really is run of the mill.