Is pregnancy is detectable by smell?
Chris - I think that you could probably make a case. What do you think, Oriane? I think you can probably make a case that you could detect pregnancy on the basis of smell because, say mosquitoes, they could be aligned for women who are pregnant. That could be for a number of reasons. One of them is that women who are pregnant have a higher metabolic rate so they breathe more.
Oriane: - They also have a higher temperature.
Chris: - Yeah.
Oriane: - Due to the high progesterone during pregnancy.
Chris: - So it could be either of those things.
Oriane - Yeah.
Chris: - But if they’re having a higher temperature, they’re probable exuding more volatile chemicals so they probably where have a slight different smell signature. The mosquitoes can definitely home in on them. So I think probably you could train a dog in the same way that dogs can be trained to discriminate urine from people who have renal and bloody cancers, on the basis of the volatile chemicals that the cancer puts into the urine. Dogs can pick that up. I reckon you probably could train a dog, something with a very sensitive nose, on, say, a woman’s urine, or on a woman’s sweat in order to tell whether she’s pregnant on the basis of a slight shift in the metabolism of that pregnant person.
Helen - An interesting form of sniffer dogs, definitely.
Yasser asked the Naked Scientists: Dear Naked Scientists, Greetings from the rainy summer season in Toronto, Canada! After watching part 1 of Torchwood's Children of Earth, it got me thinking whether or a human being could detect pregnancy through the sense of smell alone. If there is any truth to this, it could lie in the pheromones but if humans cannot detect if somebody is pregnant just smell, would another creature with a greater sense of smell be able to do so? Best Regards, Yasser in Canada P.S. Great Podcast, as always. What do you think? Yasser , Mon, 3rd Aug 2009
This seems like the wrong forum for your question... Perhaps you should consider asking a moderator to move it. Stefanb, Tue, 11th Aug 2009
Sounds like it could require some technology to me!
I remember reading that there many studies going on of what mosquitoes can detect and are attracted by, and that within a few years it is exepected that the perfect repellent will be manufacturable. This is good, because although not pregnant (as a male in fact), I find that I am particularly attractive to mosquitoes.
That is really interesting question..So being mother to three children, I did not know that we breath out any particular odors while pregnant.. That is fascinating! Karen W., Tue, 11th Aug 2009
Once upon a time before being forced to spend hours in a post office equipment room and developing a paper dust allergy, I had a good sense of smell most of the time with no sniffy non functions sometimes as today.
Years ago I read an article about a new forensic technique that involved smell. The theory was that since we all had a unique smell, one could be pinpointed through smell alone. Of course the technique obviously had major flaws.. but the technology certainly exists to capture and analyse human smells.
Look, I don't care if he has got a good sense of smell, he ain't getting the position of consultant gynaecologist at this hospital! Don_1, Wed, 19th Aug 2009
First you must consider what is the standard odor of a non-pregnant woman.
The alleged McClintock effect may be an example female hormonal state being detectable by smell. RD, Thu, 20th Aug 2009
Y'old "wolf is good at that", i'd like to find some dog trainers attempt that alike choosing colour tests.
Pregnancy is detectable by smell but only after 9 months has passed. After that time, the house in which the pregnant woman resides is filled with a variety of different yet pungent smells, that will unmistakably confirm the original speculation Variola, Fri, 21st Aug 2009
My boss knew I was pregnant before I had told a single person other than the father who also had not told anyone. This was within two days of taking a pregnancy test... I thought this was so strange. My boss said, and his wife confirmed, that he knew she was pregnant before she knew. I am now 14 weeks, and I do think I smell differently. It is similar to an odor I have right before I have my period, but slightly different and stronger. olivia, Thu, 26th Apr 2012