Mom Sense- Heightened Senses Throughout Motherhood

I bet you’ve never heard of mom sense, in fact, it probably sounds like nonsense to you. A woman goes through a lot of changes when becoming a mom, heightened senses is part of that process. 

You hear of heightened senses during pregnancy but you don’t always hear about them during motherhood.

It is definitely true to say that motherhood changes you in every possible way. You just probably didn’t think it would involve your senses too.

During pregnancy, the heightened sense of smell is the most common. In fact, it is a major cause of nausea during the first trimester. But it’s not just the sense of smell that’s affected and it doesn’t just go away. All of your senses are heightened as mom, one way or another. That’s mom sense.

Mom Sense- Heightened Senses Throughout Motherhood

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Dad Sense Is Also Mom Sense

Before I tell you about every which way your senses are heightened and affected as a mom, let me state that I am not excluding dads. But for the sake of physical hormonal changes, I’m directing this post more towards mothers.

Some dads have some mean parental senses and skills though! Kudos to dads!

Dad Sense and Mom Sense

Heightened Sense of Touch

A mother’s sense of touch is slightly heightened as she may be more sensitive to being touched. With a baby kicking in the womb, our breasts growing to produce milk, and our nipples reshaping and becoming extremely sensitive, there’s no doubt that our sense of touch, one way or another, is affected.

A nursing mom can sense when it’s time to nurse and feel her breasts expanding, whether by the general change in body weight or by touching for tenderness.

recently postpartum mother will have a sensitive tummy if she had a cesarean.

And almost every woman will be somewhat different during sexual intercourse when it comes to touch and sensitivity.

In a more obvious way, as moms, we sometimes use touch to determine temperature. At first, we’re very cautious about water temperature for baby baths. And as our child grows, we use our temperature monitors, aka fingers. Sometimes for bathing or for food, like the bottle, homemade baby puree, or chicken tenders straight out of a restaurant kitchen. 

I love to hug and kiss my kiddos as much as possible. The amount of pressure, and love, given in each of these is definitely distinguishable by touch. Call me crazy but I make my kids hug me “tight” and beg for do-overs when I get those “lazy” or “fake” kisses. Yes, I take advantage. I need all the extra love I can get, I’m a mom, and I need that physical bond just as much as my children.

Mom Sense - Touch - Mom's Milk

Heightened Sense of Taste

Taste seems like a weird one for the list, other than the newly acquired taste for decorating a nursery. But a new mom may discover a change in their sense of taste early on in pregnancy with a metallic taste in her mouth.

Although my taste buds may not have experienced much of the heightened mom sense, my job as the “family chef” is to make sure I’m making and serving food that everyone in the family can enjoy.

Parents have to approve anything our kids eat and we also have to keep track of everyone’s tastes and preferences. That includes providing the right nutrients for all family member with meals that actually appeal to everyone eating. Which often leads to a lot of inventive one-pot meals and hiding veggies. Cooking for a whole is not an easy task, kids can be really picky! 

Mom Sense - Touch - checking the food

Heightened Sense of Smell

The most common of the heightened senses, or mom sense, during pregnancy, is smell because it is a major cause of nausea. I was a victim of this heightened sense two times around and suffered by the toilet for many months. And that’s probably why I continue to be driven crazy as a mom with my heightened smelling abilities.

But it wasn’t just during pregnancy. Being pregnant again while raising an infant, I battled with our diaper pail. I moved it around many times to get the smell as far as I could. I expected it to fade after my baby was born but that diaper pail continued to driving me nuts. It found its new home in the garage thanks to my mom sense.

Due to hormones, the heightened sense of smell may or may not gradually reduce with time after giving birth.

As a new milking mom, we can sense when it’s time to nurse by touch as well as smell. Just as the smell of cow’s milk can be distinguishable, so can a mother’s milk. Sometimes even as a signal to nurse. And thanks to mom sense, the spit up also has a very distinguishable scent, which to us is extra pungent.

It gets a little more insane. Since becoming a parent, I’ve been able to sense exactly when someone in the house has pooped. And who’s butt it came from- just by the smell. I’ll walk in, immediately smell it, and know exactly whether it was my dog, my daughter, or my son.

I’ve also noticed that we all produce different smells, not just in sweat, but through our urine and stool. TMI warning. My boy’s sweat smells a bit like his poop, and my daughter’s pee is strong and sweet. I sound insane right?

So if your sense of smell is sometimes as intense as mine, you’re normal …or maybe I’m just crazy!

Momma bear fighting the smell of trash- Mom Sense

Heightened Sense of Sight

When it comes to sight, scientifically, you’ll likely experience no changes or maybe a slight decrease instead. Some women claim their vision is slightly impaired during pregnancy. Personally, I haven’t noticed any changes other than during my many mom migraines and general exhaustion.

Our vision is somewhat heightened by the fact that as moms we need to be more attentive of our children. A new mom will be worried about whether their child is sleeping or concerned about SIDS. While a toddler mom will have their eyes glued to their child at a playground.

And let’s not forget that moms have the ability to multitask like a pro. We use our sense of sight, along with sound, to keep track of multiple things at once. I know what my kids are doing while I’m doing something else, like cooking or doing laundry. If that’s not heightened mom sense I don’t know what is! 

Heightened Sense of Sound

During pregnancy, one of the commonly heightened senses is sound, as your ears may become more sensitive to noise or you may experience a ringing in your ear. But this heightened sound is one of the major tools parents use to keep track of their kids.

While I’m in the kitchen, my kids can be playing in a distance and I’ll know what they’re doing, purely by sound. I hear how they interact with toys or with each other. When it’s too quiet I know they’re up to no good.

Even their little footsteps make a slight pitter-patter on the ground, which helps me determine their distance and proximity to me. This makes it fun for hiding from them during hide-and-seek or for a quick pee in private.

We even have baby sound monitors set up in their rooms so I can hear them from the other side of the house or while I’m sleeping through the night. If I’m sleeping, my ears are still trying to parent and listening to every cough, cry, and every bad dream.

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Mom Sense- Heightened Senses Throughout Motherhood

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July 11, 2019 7:54 am

What an interesting breakdown – I never realized we used so many of our senses in pregnancy/motherhood/fatherhood. I would have to say for me, it’s the sense of touch. My son can be very rough with his hugs. And I find myself cringing when he goes in for a full-on… Read more »

July 11, 2019 10:17 am

This is an absolutely fascinating read. I am sharing this for sure!

Lorena |
July 12, 2019 12:23 am

What an intriguing and profound post about the senses of motherhood. It really made me reminisce back to early motherhood and how heightened my senses were!

Tiffany Barry
July 14, 2019 9:38 am

Omg, yes! My sense of smell and sound have been the ones most affected. I’m so much more sensitive to smells, so much so that we left a restaurant halfway through our meal once because the women set at the table behind us was wearing a strong perfume that I… Read more »

November 3, 2020 6:36 am

How interesting! Thanks for sharing!