Postpartum Vaginal Odor: Treating Feminine Odor after having a baby (2023)

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Feminine odor...It happens to the best of us. And it’s completely normal! Ladies, it’s time to stop the shame and embarrassment around vaginal issues and stand up to get the help we need.

For new mommas, you may be experiencing postpartum vaginal odor. I mean, you just went through the mecca of hormonal changes (and still are), you experienced an intense trauma to your body. Our bodies are nothing short of incredible.

But you may now be noticing an odor from down there. When is that odor normal? When you should seek help from your doctor? Is there anything you can purchase to help from home? We’ll discuss all this and more and I'll give you the exact recipe I used to cure this problem for myself.

Table of Contents

Postpartum Feminine Odor: What Causes it?

Normal Postpartum Smell

My Lochia Smells Fishy...What’s Up With That?

My Personal Recommendation for Prescription-Strength Relief

How to Get Rid of Smelly Discharge After Birth That's Not Associated With an Infection

Recommended Remedies

Curing The Cause of Vaginal Odor

Preventing The Return of Vaginal Odor

Additional Items That Could Help According to Experts

Three Steps I Took From My Doctor's Orders:

Give Yourself a Break!

Postpartum Feminine Odor: What Causes it?

I’m just going to come right out and say it, weird smells are a normal part of the postpartum journey. And not just a new scent from your feminine area, but you may also have other new body scents that are less than desirable (hello, extra sweating, and BO). Again, totally normal.

During the postpartum period, your vaginal scent will shift due to a number of factors like bleeding, moisture, and changes to your pH balance.

Immediately after giving birth, your uterus is going through a process of cleaning itself out. The cleanup process involves the secretion of a bloody discharge called lochia. You may experience this lochia bleeding for anywhere between two and six weeks following delivery.

Lochia has its own unique smell. Most people describe it as an earthy or metallic-y smell. So, generally not super offensive. However, if you’re experiencing a strong odor, that can be a sign of an infection.

If you have stopped bleeding postpartum and you’re still experiencing a strong, unpleasant odor from down below, that’s a sign to head to your doctor to make sure you don’t have an infection.

Postpartum Vaginal Odor: Treating Feminine Odor after having a baby (1)

Hormonally, giving birth is a real doozy. With your hormones on a roller coaster, you’re susceptible to a lot, including a condition known as hormonal vaginitis. According to Harvard Health Publishing, Hormonal vaginitis is an infection that’s caused by fluctuations in female hormone levels, specifically, a decrease in estrogren.

Hormonal vaginitis doesn’t just affect new moms, though, it can also be caused during and after menopause as well. For postmenopausal women, they may experience atrophic vaginitis, which is described as thinning, dryness, and irritation in and around the vagina due to decreased levels of estrogen.

Signs of atrophic vaginitis include:

  • Dryness
  • Burning
  • Discharge
  • Genital itching
  • Burning with urination
  • Urgency with urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Light bleeding after intercourse
  • Discomfort with intercourse

Postpartum Vaginal Odor: Treating Feminine Odor after having a baby (2)

Normal Postpartum Smell

After you deliver your baby, your estrogen levels will decrease drastically and will remain low for a period of time. The time period for you will be dependent on many factors like whether or not you’re breastfeeding and for how long.

If you’re breastfeeding, your body requires estrogen to be suppressed to produce milk. Estrogen is responsible for the health and balance of your vulva and vaginal tissue. So, if you’re breastfeeding, there’s a good chance that you’ll experience some changes to your vagina that could include dryness and a change in odor.

Even if you're not breastfeeding, you're still dealing with a complete hormone upheaval that will inevitably affect your vaginal homeostasis.

My Lochia Smells Fishy...What’s Up With That?

Here’s the deal, postpartum vaginal odor can be normal, except when it’s not. If you take a shower, put on fresh clothes, and are still smelling a strong, fishy smell from your vagina, it may be a sign of an infection in your uterus, vagina, or perineum due to any tears you experienced in the birthing process.

In this case, you likely need prescription-strength relief. If you want to handle this problem discreetly and without heading back to your doctor, you can try telemedicine services that focus on vaginal health.

My Personal Recommendation for Prescription-Strength Relief

First and foremost, you should always consult a doctor before getting prescription-strength relief. There are plenty of online "telemedicine" companies that prescribe this, which works great for women since you don't have to feel embarrassed at the doctors office. I wrote a detailed review here on a particular telemedicine company that covers all the prescription meds they offer.

I have personally used their telemedicine and can tell you that their service is amazing. You get real prescriptions, prescribed by real US doctors, delivered right to your door in discreet packaging.

This will save you so much time and frustration going to the doctor’s office and pharmacy. As a new momma with a little one in tow, I know how hard it can be to get out the door and sit through a long wait at your doctor’s office and then at the pharmacy. There are some amazing telehealth services that are revolutionizing the way we get medication and treat our embarrassing and annoying issues.

How to Get Rid of Smelly Discharge After Birth That's Not Associated With an Infection

I get it, you’re exhausted, your body hurts, and on top of that, you have weird smells that are making you feel anything but normal. The good news is that there are things you can do to get rid of the smelly discharge after birth. I know because I’ve been there.

Recommended Remedies

Not all post-partum odor is the same. What worked for me may not be the right solution for you, so here are some general guidelines and recommendations for products you can purchase to help cure your odor. Keep in mind that these are just recommendations of products that I have used or extensively researched, this should not take place of your doctor’s professional advice.

Curing The Cause of Vaginal Odor

If you’re dealing with fishy odor, burning during urination, and a gray, white, or green discharge, you may be dealing with BV (bacterial vaginosis). For this, I recommend trying boric acid suppositories. It's best to check out our complete list so you can learn two things:

  1. If boric acid suppositories are right for you
  2. Which one is the best fit for you

Postpartum Vaginal Odor: Treating Feminine Odor after having a baby (3)

vagina smelling fresh after birth

Preventing The Return of Vaginal Odor

Once you have the root cause of your odor eradicated or under control, I highly recommend using some specified products that will prevent it from returning as the likelihood of a reoccurrence is high when your hormones are still fluctuating. Some women think that antibiotics will totally get rid of the smell. However, this treatment of BV is only 60% effective, with a high occurrence rate of 30-40%.

Taking a vaginal probiotic will help maintain your microbiome, striking a balance between the good and bad bacteria in your vagina. Look for products that are made from natural ingredients and are very affordable.

Additional Items That Could Help According to Experts

In addition to the boric acid suppositories and probiotic, I also consulted my doctor with the following items to help get rid of my postpartum odor. Keep in mind that I did NOT have an infection, just some wacky hormones. Here's what many experts in the vaginal health space recommend.

Three Steps I Took From My Doctor's Orders:

  • I grabbed some high-quality, post-partum underwear. The high-waisted post-partum panties are hands down the best choice. A good pair of underwear will help keep things fresh and dry to ward off any additional unwanted smells. Trust me, these are worth every penny!
  • I got some amazing herbal postpartum pads that are infused with lavender and mint oils. These natural feminine pads are just what you need to balance, heal, and cleanse your vagina during your postpartum time. I found these to be so much more comforting than traditional pads and they smell so fresh and clean. It’s like gifting your vagina a little spa treatment.
  • Lastly, I bought a gentle vaginal cleanser that I discovered from a doctor consultation after giving birth to my second baby and I’ve been using this cleanser ever since. It leaves my feminine area feeling fresh, clean, and it definitely helps to neutralize any odor, postpartum, or not.
  • Registered dieticians and health experts have mentioned that the proper nutrition can also help. Be sure to read our best D2C nutrition brands so you can nourish your body the right way.
  • Many experts in the field say that staying physically fit and active can also help prevent odor. Check out our best fitness apps, or our best home gym equipment brands to get started on your fitness journey.

Give Yourself a Break!

I know how frustrating it can be during this delicate time to not feel like yourself and then add to the fact that you don’t smell like yourself, and you may start to spiral. Take a deep breath, arm yourself with the right feminine care products, and take care of yourself. Yes, you have your hands full, but you still deserve to look, feel, and smell your best.

Things are anything but normal down there in the postpartum period, but with the right tools on hand, you can quell the smell and get back to feeling (and smelling) like yourself again.

Stay well, momma!

Feel Fresh Again

Good luck in your journey and be sure to leave a comment below so we can all help each other out! Remember to ALWAYS consult your doctor before you buy or use any product to help get rid of your vaginal odor.

Postpartum Vaginal Odor: Treating Feminine Odor after having a baby (4)

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Why do I smell different down there after having a baby? ›

Weird smells are normal.

Immediately after, and even six to eight weeks after delivery, there will be lochia, and lots of it. This is the stuff (mostly blood) that your uterus sheds, and it may have a mild odor to it.

How do I stop smelling after giving birth? ›

What can I do about my smell changing after having a baby?
  1. Hydrate to help liquid release from your urine instead of your sweat glands.
  2. Shower regularly (or as much as a new parent can)
  3. Avoid foods rich in salt.
  4. Avoid alcohol.

Why can I smell myself through my pants? ›

Poor hygiene

Refraining from regular bathing can lead to dirt, sweat, and dead skin cell buildup that leads to strong smells through your clothes. You can reduce these effects by showering regularly and washing with mild soap and warm water.

Why does postpartum make you smell? ›

If you're nursing your baby, your body will emit a stronger smell through your underarm sweat than normal to help your baby find its source of food (2). This is your body's response to naturally assist your baby in finding the breast, and will begin right after giving birth.

Why do I smell fishy postpartum? ›

Postpartum discharge often has a fishy odor similar to that of menstruation. However, if the discharge has an unusual odor or odor, it could be due to an infection in the uterus or a bacterial infection caused by a tear in the perineum during delivery.

Can your smell change after having a baby? ›

The authors concluded that pregnancy is accompanied by changes in olfactory performance, especially in the third trimester and postpartum, with changes in hedonic odor ratings indicating a potential embryo-protective mechanism.

How do you treat lochia infection? ›

Treatment of Infections of the Uterus After Delivery

If the uterus is infected, women are usually given antibiotics by vein (intravenously) until they have had no fever for at least 48 hours. Afterward, most women do not need to take antibiotics by mouth.

Why does it smell down there even after a shower? ›

'The vagina has a natural bacterial flora that's there to keep a good balance,' explains Dr Rosén. It's because of this natural bacteria that the cervical mucus in the vagina always has a smell. You may also experience changes throughout your menstrual cycle as the pH balance in your vagina changes.

Why can I smell myself even after a shower? ›

In addition to bacteria, oftentimes there is deodorant residue and other impurities that are trapped in the underarm pores and within the hair if you have armpit hair.

Why do I smell bad even with good hygiene? ›

Your body odor can change due to hormones, the food you eat, infection, medications or underlying conditions like diabetes. Prescription-strength antiperspirants or medications may help.

What are signs of postpartum infection? ›

Other signs of a postpartum infection include:
  • Soreness, tenderness, or swelling of the belly or abdomen.
  • Chills.
  • Pain while urinating or during sex.
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge that has a bad smell or blood in it.
  • A general feeling of discomfort or unwellness.
  • Headache.
Mar 9, 2021

How long does postpartum body last? ›

Your postpartum recovery won't be just a few days. Fully recovering from pregnancy and childbirth can take months. While many women feel mostly recovered by 6-8 weeks, it may take longer than this to feel like yourself again.

How can a woman get rid of fishy odor in VAG naturally? ›

White vinegar can help neutralize odors by breaking down odor proteins, and a white vinegar bath may help eliminate vaginal odor and help restore pH levels in the vagina. Just a half cup each of white vinegar and sea salt in lukewarm bath water several times a week may do the trick.

What is a home remedy for fishy smell? ›

Vinegar: Vinegar or apple cider vinegar is yet another potent remedy to eliminate vaginal odour. Vinegar helps to rid of the toxins that cause the fishy vaginal odour. All you need is 1 cup of vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Add vinegar to your bathtub with water and let it soak in for 20 minutes.

How can I get rid of smelly discharge naturally? ›

Home remedies for vaginal odor
  1. Shower or bathe regularly. Get this: The off smell could just be a sign you just need a shower. ...
  2. Stop washing inside your vagina. ...
  3. Check for recent product swaps. ...
  4. Stay hydrated. ...
  5. Eat a balanced diet.
Feb 8, 2023

When does smell return to normal after pregnancy? ›

Does heightened sense of smell go away? For many women, sensitivity to strong (and sometimes icky) smells starts to subside fairly quickly and early in pregnancy. If it doesn't, your nose will likely return to normal as pregnancy progresses or soon after delivery.

Will my smell be normal again? ›

When will I get my sense of smell and taste back? Patients usually improve slowly with time. About 65 percent of people with COVID-19-induced parosmia or hyposmia regain these senses by about 18 months, while 80-90 percent regain these senses by two years.

What are the stages of postpartum? ›

The postpartum period can be divided into three distinct stages; the initial or acute phase, 8–19 hours after childbirth; subacute postpartum period, which lasts two to six weeks, and the delayed postpartum period, which can last up to six months.

Why does my lochia smell bad? ›

Does Lochia Smell? Lochia should not smell bad. Foul-smelling lochia may be a sign of infection and warrants a visit to a healthcare provider. It is normal for the bleeding to stop and start, and to experience period-like cramping as the uterus shrinks back to its normal size.

How do you flush out lochia? ›

Nothing needs to be done to treat lochia. You should not do anything to prevent lochia or stop it from happening—it's a normal part of your body's postpartum healing process. By the time your uterus has returned to its normal size, you won't be passing much lochia anymore (if at all).

How do you clean lochia? ›

Both lochia and feces are a medium for bacteria. Use a squirt bottle. It is helpful to use a squirt bottle to wash off after going to the bathroom. You can squirt yourself with warm water from front to back.

Does pregnancy make you smell different down there? ›

Your vagina's pH levels change

A change or increase in odor — while likely occurring because of your fluctuating hormones — may also seem more pungent to you because your olfactory senses are also heightened during pregnancy.

Does being pregnant change the smell down there? ›

Smelly discharge during pregnancy

Big hormonal changes can bring about all sorts of physical differences, including increased vaginal discharge, which can often cause a strong smell. However, if the smell is particularly bad, it could be caused by a bacterial imbalance, which would therefore require medical attention.

What does BV smell like? ›

Bacterial vaginitis (BV) can produce a fishy odor that is also accompanied by increased vaginal discharge, irritation, burning and sometimes itching. It is caused by an overgrowth of anaerobic bacteria that disrupts the balance of healthy bacteria that live within the vagina.

How can I get rid of fishy odor? ›

According to Odors Away, baking something sweet, like cookies or the perfect dessert to complement your fish entree, can replace the fishy smell with something new—and much more pleasant.

Why does my wife smell different pregnant? ›

A Shift in Hormones

Your sweat glands are in overdrive, producing an increased quantity of a hormone called estradiol, which is the main culprit for underarm odor (2). Because this is so localized, the scent can be quite strong to some women. The good news is you're likely the only one noticing it.

Can dehydration cause vaginal odor? ›

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) and dehydration can sometimes cause urine to smell, which can in turn create an odor (sometimes likened to the smell of bleach or ammonia) in the vaginal area.

How do you test for bacterial vaginosis? ›

To test for bacterial vaginosis at home, you take a sample of your own vaginal fluid by inserting a swab into your vagina. You seal the sample in a container, then mail it to a lab. It may take the lab a few days to a week to process the sample and get results, depending on the kit you choose.


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