While giving birth to a baby is life’s best boon, it comes with many challenges every single day. Extreme food aversion during pregnancy is one common aspect faced by all pregnant woman.
The increase in estrogen and progesterone hormones slows down bowel movement. This is the body’s way to maximize nutrient absorption for the baby and the expecting mother. Due to the surge of pregnancy hormones, food aversions are also common in most pregnant women.
To precisely decode meaning of food aversions, it is a complete reluctance to few smells and foods during pregnancy. In other words, it’s the opposite of cravings. Can pregnancy cause food aversions? Yes, extreme food aversions are as common for pregnant women as cravings.
Is It Normal To Hate Food While Pregnant?
Is extreme food aversion bothering you while pregnant? Then you are not alone. A research shows 70% of pregnant women have trouble with extreme food aversion.
Losing appetite is normal during pregnancy. It is common to experience changes in your food preferences and also to hate food during pregnancy with all the hormonal changes and discomfort. However, food aversions can make healthy eating during pregnancy a challenge.
Related Reading: 21 Pregnancy Superfoods To Include In Your Pregnancy Diet
What Causes Food Aversions During Pregnancy And When Do They Start?
‘Hormonal changes’ is a common phrase you keep hearing throughout pregnancy. The food aversion causes also come under the same radar of hormonal changes during pregnancy. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) is the hormone that triggers pregnancy tests to be positive. hCG increases dramatically during the first trimester of pregnancy. Consequently, pregnant women are challenged with extreme food aversions in the first trimester.
How Long Do Food Aversions Last During Pregnancy?
The pregnancy symptoms vary from person to person, and so are their food aversions. Extreme food aversions and morning sickness trigger within a week. If you are wondering when do pregnancy food aversions stop? Well, aversions to certain foods tend to go up and down during pregnancy but eventually tend to subside as pregnancy progresses.
However, it is possible for some expecting mothers to suffer from extreme food aversion throughout the nine months. While for others, the food aversion decreases post-first trimester. The extreme food aversions in some women go away and may return again depending on their hormonal changes and health conditions.
By 11 weeks pregnant, the hCG levels that soared earlier, began to level off. During this period food aversion begins to subside.
The Science Behind Food Aversions
We keep hearing about food aversion to everything in early pregnancy; ever wondered why? As per research, extreme food aversions, nausea, and vomiting are related. Scientists state that food aversions are a mechanism of the body that protects you from harmful elements. Psychological and cultural reasons also play a vital role in food aversions.
Related Reading: 7 Ways To Manage Loss Of Appetite During Early Pregnancy
8 Tips To Cope With Extreme Food Aversions During Pregnancy
Many pregnant women face the challenge of maintaining a healthy diet and overcoming extreme food aversions. Your favorite foods may seem unappealing to you for no reason as a result of food aversions. Blame the hormonal changes and sit tight as aversions decrease post-first trimester.
Following are 9 tips to cope with extreme food aversion during pregnancy:
1. Listen to your body
- The only aspect that helps you with extreme food aversion during pregnancy is to listen to your body
- Start eating what you crave in moderation
- It is absolutely fine to avoid foods that you have an aversion to. Speak to your doctor, and they might suggest alternatives to get proper nourishment
2. Take timely food
- Don’t wait until you feel hungry. Nausea can potentially trigger extreme food aversion
- Start eating small portions of food even though you are not feeling hungry on time
- Tune your mind to consume healthy small meals keeping weight gain into consideration
- Keep your snacks and meals handy, prepare them in advance so that you can eat on time, and don’t worry about low energy levels to prepare food
3. Know your substitutes
- With pregnancy food aversions during the first trimester, you may not feel like eating many things. It is quite common for pregnant women
- When you have meat aversion, figure out the equivalent protein substitutes. Relish foods like eggs, cheese, and nuts that give enough nutrition to your baby
- Speak to your doctor and find out alternatives and supplements to get the required nourishment
- By making appropriate substitutions, food aversion should not be a problem during pregnancy
4. Soothe your tummy with treats
- In the name of taking healthy food for your growing baby, don’t trouble your tummy
- If you are not enjoying certain foods, understand that and treat your tummy with lemon candies or whatever suits your cravings
- Try to munch in between meals so that your morning sickness or extreme food aversions don’t trigger
- Keep healthy snacks or your favorite ones handy to soothe your tummy
- Extreme food aversions don’t trigger soon when you have a soothed tummy
4. Keep plenty of options
- One might develop food aversion to everything in early pregnancy. So, it is always best to store plenty of food options in the house
- Never end up buying too many things which you enjoyed eating today
- Because with extreme food aversions, you never know how you will feel the next day or at the moment
- Ensure to have fresh fruits and vegetables with you so that you can relish them either as a fruit bowl or as a smoothie
- The simple rule of stacking your pantry is to have something or the other which your stomach will thank you for
5. Figure out the help you need
- Talk to your partner about your aversion to all food and let them understand that this is common with all pregnant women
- If you are expecting your first baby, share how you feel with your family, friends, and spouse
- Their cooperation and support is the need of the hour, especially while suffering from extreme food aversions
6. Don’t be too hard on yourself
- You know about the nutrition and vitamins your baby and your body need
- It doesn’t mean you have to force yourself to gulp in the salad and fruits; you have an extreme aversion
- Be easy on yourself and believe that you will crave this healthy food very soon during pregnancy
- Just understand your food cravings and eat accordingly by taking all your prenatal vitamins and supplements
7. Practice yoga
- Stay in peace with yourself and your body. Yoga and meditation help you to stop your cravings and extreme food aversions
- Take a long and relaxed walk with your friends or spouse and enjoy everything you do instead of taking tension
- Doing this takes your mind off extreme food cravings
Related Reading: 11 Benefits Of Walking During Pregnancy
8. Try hiding your food aversions
- If you have an extreme aversion to a vegetable or fruit, try adding them in small quantities so that you won’t be bothered by its taste
- Alternatively, you can blend leafy green vegetables with fruit into smoothies to disguise them. Thus, despite your changing eating preferences, you will still receive essential nutrients and vitamins
- Include bland foods and cold foods which don’t smell strong and go easy on your stomach
- Stay calm when you can’t stop food aversions in pregnancy. After 5 to 6 weeks of pregnancy, the extreme food aversions during pregnancy decrease along with morning sickness
Few Common Food Aversions
If you are suffering from extreme food aversions during pregnancy, don’t feel bad about it. In nine months, the same aversion might turn into cravings. However, here are a few common foods that cause aversions.
The smell and taste of meat, onions, eggs, spicy foods, tea, coffee, and milk are common foods that trigger aversion. When you dislike these foods for a long time, talk to your doctor and ask them for supplements to provide nutrition for your body and the growing baby.
Yet, at times food aversion will result in cravings for ice, cold foods. Discuss weight gain with your doctor and enjoy your pregnancy diet without taking much stress.
Do you want to know how to stop food aversions in pregnancy? Try eating different supplements to get the nutrition. Food aversions usually get reduced and eventually go away in the second trimester. Try hiding the foods in other forms while you have an extreme food aversion during pregnancy. Don’t neglect to take nutritious foods like nuts and protein-rich foods for healthy baby growth.
The extreme food aversions start from week one and subside gradually as you approach week 5 to week 6. Increased levels of estrogen and progesterone are the reason for your food aversion.
Yes, it is absolutely normal to lose taste and smell during pregnancy. Hormonal changes trigger different smell and taste perceptions causing temporary anosmia.
Post-delivery, things get normal, so there is no need to worry. Get your medical practitioner’s advice if losing smell or taste troubles you.
Food aversion and low appetite are common during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. While food aversion is a dislike for a specific food that you may not be comfortable with, smell or taste. This could be because of hormonal imbalance or your gut protects you from certain chemicals present in the food.
Low appetite results from nausea or your discomfort with vomiting. Strain or stress can also result in low appetite.