image001 One of the many changes that you may experience during your pregnancy is a strong, foul, and fishy odor coming from your vagina. Vaginal odor during pregnancy may come as a shock for you, as you may not have anticipated such an unpleasant outcome. You may even begin to feel insecure whenever you visit your prenatal provider, thinking that your odor will be too much for her to bear.

Vaginal Odor During Pregnancy—Is It Normal?

It is common in over 65% of women to emit a fishy odor while they are with child. These smells may range from being faint to very strong. However, if you are one of these women, you have nothing to worry about. After all, your doctor will have experienced having patients like you before, so you need not be embarrassed about it.

To be sure that you are healthy, you can have yourself tested for any medical conditions such as bacterial, yeast, or sexually transmitted infections. If your results turn out to be negative, then your hormones are most probably causing your smell. Changes in your body come naturally when you conceive, so if your vaginal odor started at the same time your pregnancy did, they will probably end at the same time, as well.

What Causes Vaginal Odor During Pregnancy?

1. Hormonal

Your pregnancy will alter your body drastically and trigger changes in your hormones to aid in your baby’s development. Estrogen and progesterone are secreted by your body to facilitate placental formation in your cervix and provide your baby with the right nutrients. Additionally, prolactin acts as a signal for your mammary glands to begin lactating sometime before your nine months are up. These modifications in your hormone activity also trigger increased secretions from your vagina, causing a strong odor.

2. Infection

Next to hormonal changes, vaginal infections are the most common cause of foul vaginal odors during pregnancy. The first kind, called a yeast infection, occurs when the population of naturally-occurring fungi increases dramatically. This causes uncontrollable itchiness and releases a discharge that has a foul odor. On the other hand, bacterial vaginitis develops due to the multiplication of bacterial cultures in your vagina. It can be treated using antibiotics. These infections are both dangerous and pose a risk to the health of your baby. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you observe additional yellow, white, or green discharge, or experience uncontrollable itching in your genital areas. These are signs of infection and must be treated by a medical expert.

3. Diet

Although vaginal odors due to dietary causes may progress at any time, they occur more commonly in pregnant women. When you begin to develop a series of cravings, especially for dairy products or food with garlic as an ingredient, you may observe a change in your vaginal secretion patterns. This may be causing your unpleasant smell.

4. Other Factors

Viruses from herpes simplex and other STI’s may also be the cause of your vaginal odors. Consult your doctor for a complete diagnosis.

When to See a Doctor

1. Last for a Long Time

If you notice that foul smells have been coming from your vaginal discharge for a notable period of time, it is advisable that you see your doctor to make sure that there is nothing wrong.

2. Yeast Infection

Although the presence of yeast in your vagina is perfectly normal, its balance will be disrupted by the hormonal alterations from your pregnancy. This will cause its population to boom, making your vagina itch and creating a strong smell. This must be treated at once using a doctor-prescribed antifungal cream.

3. Bacterial Vaginitis

An imbalance in your vagina’s PH level will cause bacterial vaginitis. This can lead to inflammation, severe and uncontrollable itching, and a painful burning sensation that usually acts up when you urinate or have sexual intercourse.

This condition may cause your baby to become underweight, or your labor to start earlier than it is expected to. Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect that there is a problem. You will most probably be given antibiotics to remedy the effects.

If you want to know how to treat yeast infection during pregnancy, you can watch the video below:

How to Get Rid of Vaginal Odor During Pregnancy



Proper hygiene

Proper hygiene is the biggest key to remedying your foul vaginal odor. For one, make it a point to wash your genital area with lukewarm water, especially if you suspect that you have an infection. Avoid soaps and feminine care products that have harsh chemicals, and begin using safe and mild ones instead. Make it a habit to wash your area thoroughly after every time you urinate.

Use cotton underwear

It is also advisable that you begin using cotton underwear that is comfortable and not too tight-fitting. Wash your undergarments in hot water with a detergent that is mild and gentle. To prevent your discharge from accumulating and creating a strong odor, always wear an absorbent sanitary pad or panty liner.

Put away cosmetic products

If your vaginal odor during pregnancy is very strong, but is not caused by an infection, it is probably from the cosmetic products you are using. It is advisable for you to take more frequent showers using mild soap and clean water, and avoid scented panty liners, soaps, wipes, and feminine sprays. You can try keeping your pubic hair neat and trimmed.


Antibiotics can help you control and eliminate your vaginal discharge and odor, but always be sure to check with your doctor first to verify that these are safe for you to use and will not harm your baby.