Why Does Your Vagina Smell Sour During Pregnancy? An Expert Explains

Your vagina. When you get pregnant, it seems like the conversations about your nether region never end. Whether it's the obvious human being that will be coming out of it, or the less-apparent-but-soon-realized comments — I'm talking to you perfect strangers who asked about my dilation — your girly parts become quite the main event. That's why it's no surprise that most women also have questions about vaginal discharge and various odors, including, why does your vagina smell sour during pregnancy?

You know it can and, hey, are you surprised? Because womanhood.

“Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are elevated during pregnancy, which generally causes more discharge because of the hormonal changes, and varies from woman to woman,” Dr. Althea O'Shaughnessy, Vagisil's expert gynecologist, tells Romper in an email interview. “More discharge can mean more moisture, so the smell can change as a result, including a possible sour smell.”

And you thought math was boring.

Anyway, in addition to hormones, Dr. Kecia Gaither, double board-certified OB-GYN and Maternal Fetal Medicine, says certain dietary changes that come with pregnancy — whether because of a special diet for gestational diabetes or simply hormone-fueled cravings — can also cause funky smells to come from down there. “Certain foods can alter the vaginal odor, like coffee, garlic, and broccoli,” she tells Romper in an email interview.

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Consider that all of those pregnancy hormones can also lead to excess sweat and, well, you know what that does for your armpits, so you can apply the same logic to your vagina.

But when does a not-so-pleasant vaginal smell or discharge become cause for concern? Dr. Sheeva Talebian, an OB-GYN at the New York branch of The Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine and co-founder of Truly-MD.com, tells Romper that women should watch out for discharge that has a green or brown appearance, and seek medical attention if such a discharge should arise. Gaither says to also take note of a fishy odor, which may be a sign of bacterial vaginosis and should be evaluated by a doctor.

And that leads me to one more equation, this time of the if-then sort: If you suspect a vaginal odor might be a problem, then talk to your healthcare provider.

Math, am I right?