Before I was pregnant for the first time I was as prepared as I could be for the symptoms and ailments that seem to follow most pregnant women. I was anticipating the morning sickness, the heartburn and aches as my baby and body grew. As the pregnancy stick showed two pink lines and the baby grew week-by-week I was not let down — I had the ‘morning sickness’ (read: all day, all the time vomiting), the heartburn (hello, that hurts!) and my body was aching in places I had no idea existed. Turns out, there really is no preparing for that — just hold on when it comes.
There was one symptoms of pregnancy I was so NOT prepared for, I don’t remember reading it in any pregnancy books or online anywhere, but it hit me the worst. It came on strong, had no signs of letting up and the worst part of it all — six years, and three children later — it is still here and I have come to terms with the realization it won’t ever let up.
Ultra-sensitivity to smell. This super-human nose that could smell anything from far away and in low amounts. A heightened sense of smell that not only made everything smell disgusting, it made eating (& the all-day sickness) feel impossible to deal with.
“Estrogen is the hormone to blame for a heightened sense of smell during pregnancy. According to research studies, women who experience more intense reactions to scents are often the same ones who experience worse cases of morning sickness.” - BabyMed.com
When the symptom first appeared, it started slowly with only a few things causing this retch in my stomach. Chicken, fish and the smell of cigarettes were the first scents that made me want to (or actually) be sick. If you had seen me trying to do the grocery shopping I imagine you would have had a great giggle at my expense, but it was anything fun for me. I had to start modifying certain things — take foods out of my diet and refuse to allow chicken especially in the house.
I was hoping that the onset of the second trimester would bring me some relief, but just like my all-day sickness, both hung on and showed no signs of going away. This symptom was apparently there to stay for the duration of the pregnancy. It was the one thing that I was looking forward to after birth, not having that “oh, I am going to be sick” feeling when I went out.
Birth came and the all-day sickness left the day after, but the heightened sense of smell never went away. It wasn’t nearly as strong as it was when I was pregnant the first time though it did come back full-force during my later pregnancies (and I am anticipating dealing with it again soon, hopefully).
What I find the weirdest about all this is now, even when I am not pregnant, I find that my nose has a permanent heightened sense of smell – also, the smells that made me gag during pregnancy still have the same effect on me now and I am sure it’s all here to stay.
:: Did you / do you have a heightened sense of smell or food aversions? ::
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Photo credit: Devan McGuinness