I’ve had conversations about this topic many times with women in my office, and then during my own pregnancy I experienced this weird phenomenon first hand. I can’t speak to “morning sickness” as I didn’t have to deal with that personally, but Food Aversion is quite the pregnant woman’s nemesis.
“Aversion” is a nice way of putting it. Imagine, the very thought, smell, or sight of almost any food is so off-putting that it makes you feel like the room is spinning, you have a soccer ball in your gut and that you will never eat another bite of food ever again…well, you may be dealing with a food aversion! Even your trusty favorites or the typical “cravings” women experience with pregnancy can illicit quite the unsettling reaction. For me, there were often days where I could go through a list of things to try to eat…and all of the answers were “no, nope, no way…not a chance”. It can be rather difficult and frustrating when you’re trying to stay healthy for your and your growing little one.
From what I’ve read, up to 85% of women experience difficultly with finding food that they are able to eat, let alone enjoy, during the first trimester. Many say that because there is so much happening, so fast during the early days of fetal development, and your body has such high level of hormonal changes happening, that is what causes this issue for so many mommas in the first trimester.
A few tips that I found helpful:
1) Give yourself permission to be “less than perfect” in your food choices for a short time:
We eat relatively healthy in our home. Pregnancy is the most important time to eat well balanced foods, but sometimes those eggs, baked chicken or that mixed salad just are not something you can even begin to stomach the thought of eating. If the cinnamon sugar Poptarts, mac n’ cheese and peanut butter crackers are all you can manage to get down…then just go with it! Usually the aversions subside by the end of the first trimester! Also, be sure to take your vitamins and extra iron for prenatal support!
2) Find something that helps settle your stomach:
For me, I noticed that I felt better after finally finding something I could eat. In between meals I would try to have mints, gum, ginger candies or peppermint tea handy. The other thing I was able to eat was sour fruits like green apples and pineapple. To me this was totally random as I usually prefer sweet fruits like strawberries, purple grapes and pink apples. But it helped, so that’s what I ate! Fresh air and taking walks also helped! I think it cleansed my nose and palate a bit.
3) Make the meal choices, but with “flexibility”:
My husband wanted to help, he really did. He would offer up ideas for meals, which I would quickly gag about and find totally repulsive for days. Sure, stir-fry and taco’s normally are a delicious family meal that we all love, but NOT for this momma during the 1st trimester. I was the one that had to figure out what sounded “edible” for that meal…and it was usually decided on about 20 minutes before eating. Meal planning a week in advance was not happening! If I wanted chicken salad, then that’s what was for dinner! And sometimes, mid-cooking, I couldn’t handle watching the raw food cook or deal with the smell and hubs would have to come and take over. If that isn’t possible for you…take breaks while cooking to air out your nose and maybe smell something that isn’t repulsive (like coffee or citrus smells). And why not let someone else clean up those dishes…looking at soggy, leftover food is always gag-worthy, in my opinion!
4) Have options available to you!
It can be hard when you’re a creature of habit when it comes to food. What you like one meal may be out of the question the next day. So have a variety of things in your pantry and fridge so that you will actually eat. My husband got to eat all the stuff I didn’t want. The kids can still have their treats and favorite fruits. You’ll just want a variety of choices on hand so that you can figure out what works best for you each day!! And if it isn’t in your house…go on out and get what sounds appetizing because those moments can be fleeting!
And have no fear ladies…it typically ends once the first trimester is over. Your hormonal shifts are less dramatic by the time you enter the 2nd trimester. Things will settle down for most women. Then you can enjoy those random cravings and send your hubby on midnight runs for your favorites! Do your best to go with the flow and be flexible during the food aversion stage. It’s kind of another metaphor for what the entire pregnancy, labor and newborn days are like. Unpredictable, a little crazy, and best to just go with what feels right at the moment! Best of luck in your search for foods that sound yummy today!
This post was contributed by Dr. Meggen Briscoe Haselhorst of Milestone Chiropractic in Fredericksburg. For more information on Chiropractic and its health benefits or to make an appointment with Milestone Chiropractic, call 540-656-2885 or visit their website.