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If you’re pregnant, chances are you’ve experienced this before: You look at a food that used to be your favorite and suddenly it makes you nauseous. These abrupt changes in what you can eat during pregnancy can feel quite disorienting.

But don’t worry, these common pregnancy food aversions are totally normal! Let’s take a closer look at why this happens and which foods you should avoid.

Food on a pan
Photo by Elena Leya on Unsplash

What Causes Food Aversions?

Food aversions during pregnancy are caused by the increased levels of hormones like progesterone and estrogen in your body. This hormonal shift is necessary for your baby to develop properly, but it can also affect how certain foods smell or taste to you. Studies have shown that food aversions start as early as the first trimester of pregnancy and peak around 16-20 weeks gestation.

Which Foods Should I Avoid During Pregnancy?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer here since different moms experience different cravings and aversions throughout their pregnancies. However, some foods tend to be more common culprits than others when it comes to causing nausea and discomfort in pregnant women. Below is an overview of some of the most common pregnancy food aversions:

  • Coffee – The acidic smell of coffee can be especially repulsive for pregnant women, particularly those in their first trimester. If you find yourself unable to tolerate even the smell of coffee, opt for decaf instead or try non-caffeinated drinks like herbal tea or sparkling water with lemon added for flavor.
  • Meat – Red meat tends to be one of the most common sources of nausea during pregnancy due to its strong smell and greasy texture. Instead, try leaner cuts such as poultry or fish which offer essential proteins without the accompanying nausea.
  • Dairy – Like red meat, dairy products often cause queasiness in pregnant women due to their strong odors. To get enough calcium without triggering your gag reflexes, opt for plant-based milk alternatives such as almond milk or soy milk instead of cow’s milk products like cheese or yogurt.
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Eating well during pregnancy is important both for you and your baby’s health — but that doesn’t mean it has to be difficult! With some strategic planning, finding meals that satisfy both your cravings and your aversion won’t be too hard — especially if you keep these tips on common pregnancy food aversions in mind!

With knowledge comes power — so now go forth and conquer those mealtime blues! Good luck!