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Craving or Aversion to Food in Pregnancy

Women have a distorted perception of tastes and smell during pregnancy. This often leads to uncontrollable cravings or strong aversions to certain foods and dishes. Taste vagaries sometimes reach the point of absurdity. A pregnant woman can combine completely incompatible foods or completely refuse simple harmless dishes.

The cause of cravings or aversion to food is an increased concentration of hormones. First of all, this is a high level of hCG. Progesterone makes a woman’s sense of smell and tastes more sensitive, which causes mixed reactions to certain foods.

When Does Craving or Aversion to Food Start in Pregnancy?

Craving or aversion to food occurs in the first trimester of pregnancy. This begins with an increase in the concentration of human chorionic gonadotropin in the blood. This hormone reaches its peak by the 11th week of pregnancy. Taste perversions, whims, and addictions are confined to the period of toxicosis. It is accompanied by a desire to eat something in particular or an aversion to a particular food.


Eating cravings appear in the 6th and 7th weeks of pregnancy. During these periods, there may be both cravings and aversions to specific foods. Symptoms of toxicosis are reduced and food cravings appear starting from the 13th week. Disgust at this time is already passing. Signs of a special craving for food appear at the end of the 2nd trimester at the 23rd to 27th weeks.

Craving or Aversion to Food pregnancy weeks

When will it end?

The end of the symptom of craving and aversion to food coincides with the end of toxicosis. This occurs when the body is fully adapted to a high concentration of hormones. This improvement is observed after the 12th week of pregnancy. Food cravings may last until the end of the second trimester. The symptom subsides after the 27th week.

How Does it Feel?

Craving for food is felt by an irresistible desire to eat a certain product: pickles, onions, apples, smoked meat, and so on. Aversion is associated with intolerance to the smell and taste of specific foods. This can be accompanied by nausea and even vomiting. The symptom is observed in a more acute or mild form.


A strong manifestation of the symptom can be expressed in the appearance of taste perversions and the desire to eat incompatible foods. Aversion to food is accompanied by a complete refusal to eat and vomiting.


The symptom of craving and aversion to food is mild. A woman becomes more sensitive to the smells of food. She is drawn to salty or sweet foods. She avoids foods that cause her untidy associations without gagging.

Do not allow a complete rejection of food or a poor diet. This is bad for the fetus.

Prevention methods

Preventive measures to reduce the symptom include elimination of irritants and moderate consumption of desirable foods. Take care in advance that there is no food in your refrigerator that makes you very sick. Warn loved ones about your situation and vivid symptoms. Don’t tolerate smells that you don’t like. The main methods of prevention:

Control of hormone levels

It is desirable to control the level of female hormones before pregnancy. It is worth checking your progesterone levels if you experience nausea or cravings for sweets during PMS. It is better to normalize the hormonal background long before the intended conception. This will significantly reduce the manifestation of toxicosis and associated symptoms.

Eat a little bit of everything

Don’t cut out any food completely. Try to eat a little of everything. This will reduce the increased susceptibility to foods that you have not eaten in a long time. There may be a desire to eat only one thing during pregnancy. This is bad for the well-being of the pregnant woman and the health of the child.

Avoid deficiency of vitamins and microelements

Some food cravings may be due to severe vitamin deficiencies. It is believed that a woman experiences a lack of magnesium with a strong desire to eat sweets. Vitamin C deficiency with sour cravings. It is worth checking for a lack of potassium and sodium if a woman experiences cravings for salt.

Why Food Aversions/Cravings Occur in Pregnancy?

The reason for the appearance of cravings or aversion to food is a serious hormonal restructuring of the woman’s body. The level of progesterone rises, which distorts the taste and olfactory perception. A woman begins to experience either disgust or cravings for specific products.

Experts in the field of pathology of the perinatal period consider beta-hCG to be the culprit for the appearance of aversion to food. Craving food is a consequence of the end of toxicosis. A woman begins to show a strong appetite after a long period of not wanting to eat most foods.

An unobvious cause of food cravings is stress. The woman begins to eat a lot for complacency. The reason for this behavior lies in psychology. Here you cannot do without the help of a specialist. A woman may experience a deficiency of certain trace elements during the gestation period. This causes an intense desire to eat a lot of salty, sweet, or sour.


It is impossible to completely prevent or eliminate the symptom of cravings and aversion to food. There are only a few ways to minimize its manifestation as much as possible. Among the main means of protection is the regulation of nutrition, drinking regimen, and the elimination of the main provoking causes.

The means of protection include working with your inner self. Let’s consider in more detail the ways to protect against a symptom:

Food replacement

If you are disgusted by healthy foods, try to replace them with similar nutritional value and taste. Do not deprive your body of nutritious foods. Try cooking foods differently: replace fried meat with boiled or baked meat. If you have a strong craving for sweets, replace them with dried fruits or sweet fruits. Try sugar-free vegetarian desserts. They are extremely useful and are a great alternative to confectionery sweets.

Elimination of irritants

Your food diary should not include a list of foods that provoke disgust or strong cravings for their absorption. Try to minimize their presence in your kitchen. Don’t face them visually. It is better to remove the products that provoke vomiting completely. It is advisable not to abuse sweets and salty foods. Control your cravings by avoiding irritating foods.


Taking prenatal vitamins facilitates the course of toxicosis. Sensitivity to food decreases, appetite normalizes, and deficiency of vitamins and microelements is eliminated. The balance of nutrients in the body of a pregnant woman supports the immune and nervous systems. There are no strong hormonal disruptions and the woman experiences pregnancy symptoms less.


Serious eating disorders can occur with acute cravings or aversion to food. Seek immediate medical attention if you have a complete refusal to eat, persistent vomiting, or hypersensitivity to food odors.

It is necessary to consult a dietitian when the weight of the pregnant woman is growing rapidly, the appetite becomes uncontrollably increased. The reason for going to the doctor is the protractedness of the symptoms and its too bright manifestation.

What Not to Do

Do not indulge your whims during periods of strong taste whims. Do not go to extremes when eating. Desire can be satisfied with a smaller portion of favorite but harmful products. Carefully analyze what provokes symptoms and do not allow the influence of these factors.

Don’t refuse to eat

A strong aversion to food should not lead to a complete refusal to eat. Choose a menu so that the diet is not scarce.

Don’t be tempted

You are pregnant – so everything is possible for you? Not! Do not eat at night, abuse fast food, and do not control the number of portions. Control yourself.

Don’t experiment

Do not try diets, pills for toxicosis, or non-traditional methods of help. Do not eat incompatible foods, this can cause indigestion.

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