Taste in pregnancy

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Most pregnant women tend to expect morning sickness and backaches, but few have heard about dysgeusia, or the “bad taste problem”. This fairly common condition, probably caused by pregnancy hormones, can result in the absence of taste or altered taste, such as a metallic or bitter sensation.

Dysgeusia is the medical term for a distortion in our sense of taste. There are many theories surrounding the reasons why some women experience a lasting, unpleasant taste in their mouths during pregnancy. Most evidence points to increasing levels of oestrogen that alter the body’s interpretation of taste and smell. Some research indicates the taste buds on the tongue actually grow bigger, which accounts for the distortion of taste during the course of pregnancy.

Here's how you can combat the condition

  • GO SOUR: Marinate meats in vinegar, soy sauce, or citrus juice, as sour foods stimulate the taste buds and your saliva production. 
  • SWITCHING TO PLASTIC dinnerware from silverware can also help. 
  • ADD SALT: If you're sensitive to sweets, add a dash of salt to tone down foods like canned fruits or jam. And opt for savoury snacks, such as cheese, peanut or olives. 
  • CHANGE VITAMINS: Ask your healthcare provider about switching to a chewable prenatal vitamin, which may be easier to tolerate. 
  • BRUSH FREQUENTLY: Brush your teeth and tongue, and rinse with baking soda solution (add ¼ teaspoon soda to 1 cup water) which improves taste by neutralising pH levels. 
  • EAT WHAT YOU CAN: Don't feel guilty if healthy foods turn you off. Most taste changes will dissipate by the second trimester, when you can reintroduce them. If you're worried that your food aversions are resulting in poor nutrition, talk to your healthcare provider. 

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