Comparison between olfactory function of pregnant women and non-pregnant women in reproductive age group in Ibadan, Nigeria

  • U Nwankwo
  • A.J. Fasunla
  • A Oladokun
  • O.G. Nwaorgu
Keywords: Odor, Olfaction, Olfactory perception, Pregnancy, Smell, “Sniffin sticks”


Background: Pregnant women require normal olfactory function in order to develop good appetite for healthy living and normal fetal development. This study was carried out to investigate and compare olfactory function of pregnant women with non-pregnant women.

Methods: This was a case control study of women in reproductive age group at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria from July 2014 to February 2015. Consecutive 70 pregnant women and 70 non-pregnant women (controls) without rhinologic symptoms were studied. A structured questionnaire was administered to obtain participants’ information on socio-demographics, pregnancy history, and ability to perceive smell. They subjectively rated their olfactory function on a visual analogue scale of 0 – 100. Olfactory threshold (OT), discrimination (OD), identification (OI) scores and TDI of both groups were determined with “Sniffin’ sticks” kits and compared. The level of significance was P<0.05.

Results: The mean age of the pregnant women was 30.5±3.9years and control was 28.5±6.6years. There were more pregnant women (7.1%) with hyposmia than the non-pregnant women (2.9%). The subjective rating of olfactory function was 68.2±24.9 (median 70) and 72.3±21.6 (median 69) in pregnant women and controls respectively. The mean OT, OD, OI, TDI scores were higher in pregnant women than the controls. However, it was only in OI (P=0.000) and TDI (P=0.012) that the differences were significant.

Conclusions: Pregnant women have olfactory dysfunction more than the non-pregnant women of reproductive age group. Also, they have tendency to develop loss of cognitive olfactory information more than the non-pregnant women.

Keywords: Odor, Olfaction, Olfactory perception, Pregnancy, Smell, “Sniffin sticks”


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1119-3077