When you’re expecting a new arrival, your body goes through a wonderful series of changes. Every day is a new journey and a new adventure, and for some expectant mothers, a whole new world of scent!
Many pregnant women experience altered or heightened senses of smell, which can change your perception of the notes you normally gravitate toward. It’s actually amazing how it happens! When you become pregnant, the blood flow throughout your body increases by up to 50%, causing messages normally transmitted through your blood to arrive faster and in larger quantities to the brain. Plus, areas of your body that influence smell like your olfactory center can be stimulated by this additional blood flow, which experts note is actually a natural response that helps your body avoid breathing in anything harmful.
A stimulated olfactory center plus faster messaging directly to your brain means a super sense of smell that can take a bit of getting used to! What may have once been your favorite scent may now make you feel nauseated or, you may notice that your partner smells extra amazing lately! And walking through an herb or rose garden or past a bakery while they’re making a fresh batch of pastries? It’s like you’re smelling something for the very first time!
When you are exploring this exciting new world of scent, there are some considerations that you also have to keep in mind for the safety of your baby. It is safe to use perfume and other scented body care products during pregnancy but it’s also important to understand your body’s preferences and to listen to what they tell you. You may be more sensitive to perfumes and find that some scents make you nauseated, light-headed, agitated, or even more prone headaches.
Mom & Baby-Friendly Scents
While nothing will quite match the amazing scent of your baby’s hair or the warmth of her freshly laundered baby blanket, there are quite a few fragrance notes that many women can enjoy during their pregnancies without causing any harm or irritation.
- Soft florals like lavender or chamomile can help you feel calm and collected. So wonderful when you’re trying to sleep!
- Geranium is balancing and uplifting, giving you a friendly boost when you feel tired.
- Ylang-ylang promotes calm and can also help with insomnia.
- Sandalwood, frankincense, and patchouli can help you feel grounded as you adjust to baby’s needs. We recommend our Santal Woods fragrance as a perfect fit.
- Citrus notes, such as sweet orange, neroli, lemon, or mandarin, can soothe nausea and leave you feeling uplifted. (Our Citron Pomelo scent and Blood Orange Chocolat eau de parfum are must-tries!)
- Peppermint and ginger are wonderful tummy tamers if you’re feeling extra sensitive!
Many mommies who are expecting keep a soothing scented item nearby to help in those moments when the way you feel can change so quickly. A peppermint lip balm can help with an upset stomach or a handkerchief with a few drops of lavender essential oil can help you feel soothed when you encounter a odor that isn’t so pleasant!
It’s recommended to begin your pregnancy fragrance-free until you can find out which scents your body handles well. Luckily, we can help there too with our Pure and Simple shea butter body creme and shea butter lip balm. Totally moisturizing while also flavor and aroma-free!
Scents to Avoid
While there are plenty of scents to enjoy while pregnant, there are some you should be mindful of and avoid if you’re expecting. Be on the lookout for fragrances or body care items that contain these essential oils:
- Clary sage, which may trigger early contractions and alter blood flow to the placenta
- Rosemary, which increases heart rate and can affect blood pressure
- Cinnamon leaf, basil, thyme, or juniper, which can stimulate contractions
- Fennel, which can increase estrogen levels
- Hyssop, which can affect fetal neurological development
And of course, always be sure to check with your health care professional if you have questions about what products are safe or comfortable to use during pregnancy. Every woman is different in what she experiences during her pregnancy so it’s always good to ask, especially if you’re noticing your smell sensitivity is making you feel uncomfortable or if you have a medical history.
Which scents do you find to be your favorites during pregnancy? Let us know with a comment - we’d love to hear from some new and expecting mommies!