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How Pregnancy Affects Your Sense Of Taste

The way food and drink tastes can change when you’re pregnant – but it’s all part of how your body’s looking after you and your baby

There’s never been a time you could imagine turning down a nice piece of steak or strong cheddar. Now you’re pregnant? No, thank you.
Many women find their sense of taste changes while they’re expecting, with foods seeming more intense to the point of being overwhelming. Or, even taking on a weird metallic taste (see – you’re not the only one!) that’s definitely not Masterchef-worthy.
All this is totally normal and – just like any change in your sense of smell – tends to pass after or by the time your baby’s born. So, what’s going on?

Why does your sense of taste change?

Quite simply, it’s because your body’s working extra efficiently to look after you and your baby.

‘The plasma volume (blood flow) in your body increases by up to 50 per cent in pregnancy, so anything moving from your blood to your brain reaches it faster and in larger quantities,’ says midwifery teacher Denyse Kirkby, author of My Mini Midwife. ‘This heightens your responses and some experts think that’s why you react more strongly to tastes.’

Many women find their sense of taste changes while they’re expecting, with foods seeming more intense to the point of being overwhelming 

‘There’s also that idea that if you’ve perhaps given up smoking or drinking for pregnancy then there’s less blocking how you experience foods.’

Welcome to heavy metal

Being left with a metallic, coppery taste in your mouth after having something is another pregnancy side effect.

‘This often happens with caffeinated drinks – coffee, tea, fizzy ones – which you’re advised to limit right now,’ says Denyse. ‘So, the theory is that this taste is your body’s way of warning you off and telling you it’s not something you need.’

What can help you cope?

Aside from steering clear of the foods you’re now less keen on, combat any associated nausea.
‘Something that works for many mums-to-be is chopping up an apple, mushing it up a little with a fork and then leaving it out in the air for an hour before eating it,’ says Denyse. ‘It’s something about how it oxidises that seems to help.’

And remember if you’re being very sick or unwell when you have the foods, speak to your midwife just to make sure it isn’t hyperemesis, a stomach bug or another pregnancy related condition.
How did your sense of taste change in pregnancy? Let us know on the comments board below.

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