Environmental odor intolerance in pregnant women.


Previous findings indicating that pregnant women experience a shift in odor sensitivity and hedonics raise the question of whether these changes evoke adverse reactions to odorous and pungent environmental substances in daily activities, to a larger extent in pregnant than in nonpregnant women. Forty-four women in pregnancy weeks 21-23 and 44 nonpregnant women were therefore compared with respect to affective reactions to and behavioral disruptions by odorous/pungent daily environments by means of the questionnaire-based, 21-item Chemical Sensitivity Scale (CSS). This scale refers to neurasthenic and sensory/somatic symptoms and includes the 11 items of the Chemical Sensitivity Scale for Sensory Hyperreactivity (CSS-SHR). This latter scale refers predominantly to sensory/somatic symptoms. To investigate whether there is a general environmental hypersensitivity during pregnancy, the Noise Sensitivity Scale (NSS) was used that is analogous to the CSS (including 11 NSS items corresponding to those of the CSS-SHR; "NSS-SHR"). Results show that the two groups were similar with respect to scores on both the CSS and NSS, whereas the pregnant women had higher scores than the nonpregnant women on the CSS-SHR, but not on the "NSS-SHR". These results suggest that pregnant women to a larger extent than nonpregnant women manifest an odor intolerance that affects their daily activities, with predominantly sensory/somatic symptoms, which appears not to be due to a general environmental hypersensitivity. This behavior may have embryo- and maternal-protective functions.

Cite this paper

@article{Nordin2005EnvironmentalOI, title={Environmental odor intolerance in pregnant women.}, author={Steven Nordin and Daniel A. Broman and Marianne Wulff}, journal={Physiology & behavior}, year={2005}, volume={84 2}, pages={175-9} }