Pregnancy is associated with women craving for pickles, lemons, khatti imli (इमली), ice creams etc at odd times in the night. Many women expect that they will feel the urge to have their favorite pastry in the middle of the night. But that’s not all. Pregnancy also makes some women not stand food that they loved their entire lives. It could be smell, taste, look or anything else that may cause one to discard food and not want to look at it again. This is known as food aversion during pregnancy. Like food cravings, food aversions during early pregnancy are also very common among women.
What is Food Aversion During Pregnancy?
A food aversion is a strong desire to dislike a food item, even though you were in love with it earlier. Actually aversion is a very light word used for it; during pregnancy many women develop a feeling of disgust towards a particular food item, smell or taste. This hate is so intense that sometimes just being around or in the same room with these things causes vomiting or nausea. Like cravings, there is no scientific reason for developing food aversions.
What Causes Food Aversions During Early Pregnancy?
Some claim it is due to hormonal change (increase in beta HCG hormones) during pregnancy while others relate it to the morning sickness. There is no evidence to such links. Food aversions during pregnancy generally strike during the first trimester – when morning sickness and nausea are at their worst as well- and go out with the second, but some women may develop permanent aversions to some food items. Some people even believe that food aversions are natures’ way of telling a mother not to eat anything that can be harmful for the baby. Studies that show 85% of pregnant women develop aversion for some or other food item. Sometimes you may not even like to see what your favorite food was prior to pregnancy.
Tips to Deal With Food Aversions During Pregnancy
Developing a dislike for something which is not very beneficial during pregnancy is good( like that sake of ‘No’ for red meat or coffee) but the problem arises if you do not feel like eating food items which are rich in proteins or contain essential vitamins (the greens and the fruits). Read the below tips to handle food aversions while you are expecting:
- Adding a supplement: A daily dose of vitamin B-6 supplement will help you ease your nausea and morning sickness. Some vitamin B-6 supplements contain an antihistamine called doxylamine which will help to lessen the impact of morning sickness. However, do consult your doctor on this
- Take a Prenatal Vitamin: Some studies indicate that women who start taking a prenatal vitamin early during pregnancy or even before it are experience milder cases of nausea and morning sickness
- Aversion to poultry and meat: If you do not even want to smell eggs, let alone eat them, it is alright. You can switch to some other food items rich in proteins like tofu, yoghurt, flaxseeds or almonds
- Aversion to Green leafy vegetables: Make way for vegetables like carrots, yam and the like- that do not turn you green. You can even score on vitamin C by catching on some fruits like cantaloupes, mangos and apricots
- Aversion to Milk: Do not fret with worry that you are unable to stomach milk that has scored on to be the complete food since ages. Try yoghurts, cheese, paneer, tofu etc which will give you all the benefits of milk. Calcium can also be derived from vegetables like broccoli, legumes, okra, soybean or oatmeal; seeds like sesame and some canned fish
- Be flexible with time: It is quite possible that a particular food item makes you not eat your lunch but you may like it in during dinner time. Sometimes it’s just the timing that needs to be tackled
- Keep you pantry stocked: Keep a large variety of foods rich in nutrients so that at some point of time if you do not feel like eating one item, you could try other. If you have it in front of your eyes (at your kitchen or fridge) choosing, picking and eating becomes more interesting and you are likely to end up eating something
- Manage portion sizes: Do not get upset if it is only a small amount that you are able to eat and not your usual meal size. If you are not able to eat a full carrot at once, eat small portions and be happy about it
Other Aversions During First Trimester of Pregnancy
Other aversions during pregnancy which may make you uncomfortable are particular smells oils, perfumes, room fresheners, and cigarette smoke. For smell aversions keep some good sprays with you so that you may use these to avoid those smells. For cooking smells you may let your windows open and fan on to let them out. Generally aversions occur during first trimester but in few cases throughout the pregnancy. Some women may not experience it all or it may be for very short period. Do not get upset as you will regain your normal taste after pregnancy (if not consult your doctor).