Smelly armpits during pregnancy and postpartum are a thing!
It's hot mom summer! While the warm weather is welcomed, the increased sweating and body odor is definitely not. So why do moms sweat more postpartum and what can you do about it?
Why do moms sweat more postpartum?
It turns out hormonal shifts are to blame! It's like reliving puberty all over again, according to the Cleveland Clinic. As if your weight didn't shift enough during pregnancy and now postpartum, the various hormone changes cause shifts in how your sweat glands operate too!
When you're pregnant, you carry around a ton of extra fluids. Shedding water weight after you give birth is totally normal; but with that your estrogen and progesterone levels drop like it's hot, but this is what tells your brain you're hotter than usual (not just looks wise) and potentially causes you to sweat more. Finally, this results in you having a stronger body odor than normal.
Also if you're breastfeeding, this is a double whammy for postpartum hormones in addition to the shifts your body is already going through with shedding water weight. There's an increased posiblity with breastfeeding you'll sweat more and longer compared to those forumla feeding. You can blame prolactin — the hormone that produces milk — for that, since it suppresses estrogen levels that much more.
Postpartum night sweats
You don't need to be an olympic athelte to experience world famous postpartum night sweats. Forget about those professional athletes, because we new moms can break records in the world of night sweats.
In the weeks postpartum, sweats at night are a normal and natural reaction to changing hormone levels adding to body odor and postpartum sweating. It’s common to wake up soaked in sweat in the first few weeks after you have a baby and increased body odor. In fact, 35% of mamas who’ve just given birth claim in the first four weeks claim to have postpartum sweating at night, which increase postpartum body odor.
Good news for postpartum body odor?
So what is the good news in all of this postpartum body odor? It helps with bonding with your newborn, according to practioners. In the meantime, how can you enjoy the heat of hot mom summer, while minimizing the smell?
What's a mama to do? How to manage postpartum body odor and sweating
Drink up! Drink water frequently
For minimizing the stank that underarm sweat is producing, hydrate with water. New moms should be drinking lots of water, and approximately at least 8 cups a day. Increasing your fluid helps regulate hormonal shifts and dilute the impact of that hormal change, which is adding to all that stank. The extra fluid helps equalize whatever is going on.
Avoid using stimulants like alcohol and caffiene
We know mama, after giving birth, postpartum you deserve all the alcohol and coffee you desire, but those joyful substances also dehydrate you. So try to keep them to a mininum.
Wear airy, breathable postpartum clothing
If you're breastfeeding, you'll want to stick to fabrics made of breathable materials that are also accessible. This way you stay cool, while also staying covered everytime you go to breastfeed.
The wide arm holes give those sweat glands lots of room to air out, while also making breastfeeding a breeze.
Try swapping deodorants
It sounds basic, but try swapping deodorants and going for a more natural alternative. Thankfully, Aluminum which used to be present in a number of deoderants has been removed, as well as parabens, phthalates, and silicone.
Healthier non-toxic alternatives are typically filled with ingredients like baking soda, charcoal and arrowroot powder. Now you can swipe safely each morning and do a second pass mid-day to minimize that stronger smell of your body.
Douse in apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apples, and has a unique smell caused by acetic acid. This acid kills bacteria. Apple cider vinegar can help body odor by reducing the pH of the skin. This lowers the pH level of the underarm area and prevents the bacteria that cause those smells to emerge from popping up in the first place. It also acts as a natural astringent, closing the pores and reduces underarm sweat.
If you suffer from postpartum body odor, try a hot shower with water and soap to remove bacteria. Then, you can mix one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with a cup of water and apply it to areas where body odor is a problem. Then, follow up with your deodorant as usual.
Take more showers
OMG, who came up with this tip. While you know what good hygiene is, and how that self-care is important, being a new mom doesn't always allow for this. Still, do your best. Ask your partner, postpartum doula to hold your little one while you take a quick shower, as water flushes help give our bodies a fresh perspective.
Remove Extraneous Body Hair
Body hair may absorb the scent of sweat and sweat-loving bacteria in their skin. The postpartum smells have worsened. Add postpartum sweat and it can be deadly. Make sure that extra hair is removed to avoid causing excessive sweating on the surface. Be particular about the armpit area.
Don't sweat it — your baby doesn't
Whether you are giving birth, or in the first few months of your postpartum period, your baby in what is considered the fourth trimester isn't fussing over how much your body odor they are exposed to. At the end of the day, a new baby brings on a set of all new body adjustments, body odor included.
New parents have a lot going on in this postpartum period, so odor and obsessing over it should be the last thing on your mind. Also, if you're making new mom friends in the summer heat, just remember they're all experiencing body odor postpartum too. This postpartum phase should be all about enjoying your new baby, spit up, and getting to know this new body of yours.