Food Aversions during Pregnancy

Food aversions during pregnancy

Pregnancy brings with it different hormonal changes that impact your taste buds too. So, do you find yourself yearning for pickle for breakfast? Or, maybe, you keep asking your partner to get you ice cream in the middle of the night? Food cravings are very common during pregnancy. But, did you know that food aversions are common too? During pregnancy, it is not unusual to develop an unexpected dislike towards a particular food item, even something that was once a favourite.

Around 50 to 90 percent of expecting mothers experience a sudden desire for a specific food or dish. And they also tend to develop an aversion towards certain food items. Cravings and aversions are the highest during the first phase of pregnancy. This can also continue throughout the nine months. These cravings and aversions might even go away at some point and then come back again.

Causes of food aversions

  • Hormones: HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) hormone is considered to be the main reason behind food aversions during pregnancy. This hormone is at its highest during the 11th week of pregnancy i.e., the first trimester. This is around the same time when pregnant women face issues like nausea and vomiting. Morning sickness and food aversions are usually related. This can be, because both of these occur due to this hormone. Aversions towards certain foods and the feeling of nausea gradually disappear after the first trimester.
  • Quirky senses: During pregnancy, it is common for the taste receptors and olfactory senses to change. For example, a piece of broccoli might taste bad, even if your mouth is accustomed to its bitterness.

When do the food aversions start?

Generally, food aversions are observed during the first trimester. However, they can also occur throughout pregnancy, i.e., any trimester. Food aversions usually subside with the arrival of the baby. Or, in some cases, they might last for an unspecified time period.

Common aversions

Major food aversions are usually observed towards those food items that have a strong smell. These are:

  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Tea and coffee
  • Spicy foods

Ways to cope with food aversions during pregnancy

  • It is important to remember that most aversions and cravings stop or go away by the fourth month of pregnancy.
  • If the aversion is towards foods that are highly recommended during pregnancy, see to it that the nutrients are going in via some other form. For example, if an expectant mother has an aversion to meat, i.e., high-protein food, you can replace it with other high-protein foods such as nuts and seeds, pulses, milk, milk products, and eggs.
  • Also, foods that are causing aversions can be added to dishes in the "hidden form." For instance, if you do not like to eat salads, you can add leafy vegetables to a smoothie. This will hide the taste and texture of that specific food that is causing an aversion.
  • Since some women are not able to tolerate hot foods due to their smell, consuming meals at room temperature is fine.

Food cravings and aversions are quite common during pregnancy. Usually, it should not be a matter of concern. However, if food aversions are depriving the mother of essential nutrients and affecting the overall growth of the baby, do consult your doctor.