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Contemplating Pregnancy

Ladies, the time to procreate may finally be upon me, but I love my chow! Which foods did you have the hardest time giving up? What were your weirdest cravings, if any? Any food you normally enjoy, but disliked during your pregnancy?


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  1. Congrats! I have gone through many, many months of pregnancy (3 kids, all of whom liked staying in for about 10 months each!). First of all, you will get TONS of advice, both welcome and unwelcome. Find a doc, nurse, midwife, etc that you like & trust, and ignore the rest.
    I always knew I was pregnant when coffee tasted bad - seemed like immediately it tasted bitter and sour. I craved different things with each kid. Kid #1 was made primarily of hot cocoa, chocolate milkshakes, and donuts. I also craved tuna with him, to the point that I would eat it straight out of the can. This was before all the mercury in tuna fears, and I was mostly afraid I was carrying kittens instead of a baby. Kid #2 was citrus cravings, moreso than the sweets. With Kid #3, all I craved was sleep.
    It can seem like forever, but it is really a short time to give up foods. Best of luck, & enjoy - it goes by so fast (except for that 10th month!)

    4 Replies
    1. re: elfcook

      I hit my third trimester tomorrow with my third child.

      My weirdest (or worst) craving was for anything that contained nitrates. Hot dogs, sm sausage, bacon, corned beef, etc. The odd thing is that every pregnant woman I know has had the same craving, including the ones that never liked hot dogs before pregnancy. Of course, this is not healthy at all.

      My biggest problem was limiting my coffee to about 1/2 strong cup per day.

      It is funny though, during my first trimester I was craving healthy stuff: fruits, vegetables, whole grains. During the second trimester I have started craving 1/2 healthy food/ half junk. I cannot get enough fat/sugar/salt.

      During the 1st trimester though, you need to concentrate on vitamins and minerals because you are building your baby, in the later months it is about protein and calcium to make bones, fat, and healthy brains.

      1. re: Becca Porter

        funny, with my 2nd kid, I could not eat hot dogs without feeling terribly ill - and, kid #2 cannot stand hot dogs. Bacon I could eat 24/7 anyway, so I don't know if I craved it more. I also got terribly sick on strawberries while pregnant with her, and still cannot eat one.

        1. re: Becca Porter

          I also wasn't a fan of hot dogs before pregnancy, and then craved all things nitrate-laden while pregnant. When I developed gestational diabetes and all things carby had to go bye bye, i filled the void with nitrates. Hot dogs, kielbasa, bratwurst, knockwurst. If it was a sausage, I ate it. Out for a meal at the diner? 2 sides of bacon, please!

          I also missed sushi and oysters. I totally gave that kind of thing up. I didn't give up much of anything else, just had things like caffeine in moderation. At 10 weeks ok, my baby is just fine.

        2. re: elfcook

          so agree on the coffee. Also, tap water smelled heavily of chemicals (we have very good water). I also lost my taste for meat.

        3. I normally low carb, but during pregancy (two kids both under 3) I craved carby things like mad and I had bad all day long morning sickness until about Week 20 and then mild morning sickness for some time after that. I was eating stuff that I consider oily, bland and gross: chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes with white flour gravy from Chili's was something I craved a few times. That, and avocado milkshakes. I also craved noodles from a box like Kraft Mac and Cheese. YUCK! And I ate the whole box more than once. My weirdest one was that I craved salt and pepper squid, got some, ate the whole plate by myself, and then barfed right afterwords. I still haven't eaten salt n pepper squid again since. After Week 20 I was back to more normal taste buds and I ate lots of Cantonese food, I think my girls are made of Cantonese food because that was what was mostly supporting their placentas...using the free weight gain period to eat lots and lots of pan fried seafood noodle, dim sum, and other high carb, oily Chinese delights. The only thing I missed was sushi. I ended up having cooked types of sushi a few times though. Oh, but I took the opportunity to eat ice-cream just about everyday in my pregancy.

          Just look at it this way: you are gonna get fat no matter what you do, and the weight will come off afterwards. So use the time to enjoy food and life without worrying and think about all of the things that you CAN eat. To me that cancelled out the limitations of forbidden foods.

          9 Replies
          1. re: luckyfatima

            I am not normally low carb, but first trimester that's all I could eat -- fruits, veggies, and meat all made me sick. Pizza was the most nutritionally balanced food I could eat. I would carry a little baggie of cereal around with me -- eating a few bites when I started to feel nauseated usually helped. Second trimester my appetite came back.

            Cravings: apple pie, sushi, and tacos. I've heard a lot of people say they completely lose their appetite toward the end of pregnancy -- not me!

            The weirdest part, as others have mentioned, is that your sense of smell and taste may change -- things you loved before, you suddenly can't stand, and vice versa.

            1. re: Pia

              I couldn't stand Mexican...cheap or expensive...it took me at least two years to even look at it again!

              1. re: Pia

                Yes I forgot to say that, too that even the thought of fruit and veg and meat made me sick from mid-trimester 1 until end of trimester 2. That is why all I ate was pretty much carbs and the occasional protein or veg covered in carbs and deep fried.

              2. re: luckyfatima

                I'm not sure invino was worried about 'getting fat' during her pregnancy. Seems like something to worry about if you're a Hollywood actress who better drop those extra 15 lbs. of post-partum baby weight, lest she find herself on the front page of the Enquirer.... such a serious issue, too '-P

                  1. re: linguafood

                    My point on the pregnancy weight gain issue, which is a major concern for many women, was related to looking on the bright side of eating for two...it is not all about having a hard time with what you have to give up.

                    1. re: luckyfatima

                      Maybe it sounds different from someone who has given up a food group (carbs) for the sake of staying thin.

                      1. re: linguafood

                        I mentioned low carbing to contrast it with my inability to stomach anything other than carbs in the first trimester. I low carb because I suffer from an endocrine problem as well and low carbing and linked and balanced protein/carb consumption are the best way to control my health issue from the dietary end. Thanks. But yes, I am also nice, petite, and slim and that is related to low carbing. Thanks. By the way, I didn't give up carbs, that's not what low carbing means. I basically eat similarly to a diabetic. The "you" in the "you are gonna get fat" was rhetorical and not directed to the individual who posted the original query...pregnancy, breast feeding, and new mommy literature is full of info on pregnancy weight gain and post-delivery weight loss, so I don't appreciate you singling me out as if it is odd or bad to care about weight in relation to pregnancy. Women need to not be so hard on each other.

                1. My sister has two very healthy kids. Her doctor told her to eat what she craved, and she did. She avoided coffee and OTC drugs but ate tons of fish (sushi sometimes), chocolate, french fries and pasta with tomato sauce.

                  1. I have always loved a good cup of fresh coffee in the morning, with both pregnancies...I would almost vomit at the smell.
                    All I wanted with my first child was restaurant Chinese food (not authentic) but the real "Americanized" stuff....egg rolls, cashew chicken, sweet and sour pork, etc. all the stuff I would not normally want. My second child was a sub sandwich baby, no sub was too big for me to eat.... sometimes I would just order two sandwiches to go. Again, way not "normal" for me. I think I cooked normally at home, but toward the end of the pregnancies, I wanted to go out and eat alot. Surprisingly, I didn't gain much weight with either child and got back to my pre-pregnancy weight quickly. Of course I really didn't eat Subs or faux Chinese food again either!

                    1. Congrats! :) As far as avoiding foods, it really comes down to how relaxed you are. You will find doctors that say sushi (raw) is fine, as long as it's fresh/reputable (just watch the amount of tuna b/c of mercury), some will say a glass of wine occasionally is fine after 14 weeks, others that will say go ahead and eat the cold cuts, etc. I'm cautious by nature- so I chose to abstain from everything, but have a lot of friends who had the occasional glass of wine, ate sushi and cold cuts, etc. and their babies are perfectly fine. I look forward to lox on a bagel, wine, sushi, and prosicutto (all things that others will eat) after the pregnancy...but I have really enjoyed being pregnant for the most part- keep in mind I'm only 8 months in- we'll see how I feel at the end! My only true aversion was to leeks and creamy soups, and I loved vegetable soup- which is the opposite of "normal" for me.

                      1. The hardest things for me to give up were coffee and wine. I didn't have any cravings, didn't find any food revolting (although had an incredibly heightened sense of smell and things like perfume could make me sick but never food). But, I was also pregnant before all these new restrictions, like tuna, deli meats, soft cheeses, etc.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: chowser

                          Ditto here. Whenever my husband would have coffee, I would lean over the table and just slowly inhale the aroma. I didn't have any particular cravings (I don't count chocolate- that's a life-time necessity), but that first cup of coffee after 39 weeks was the most wonderful thing I ever had. Note: gave it -and the wine- up temporarily while breastfeeding, but luckily she prefered the bottle, so I didn't have to keep it up long.

                        2. How exciting! I'm in my 6th month with my second baby and my cravings/aversions have been pretty similar with this pregnancy as it was with the 1st. I normally eat a lot of salads and veggies but can't really stomach them now. especially asparagus. As others have mentioned I eat a lot of carbs, pasta or plain rice and was on a baked potato with gravy kick for a while which seems to have passed. I also eat quite a bit of cheese and love smoothies or anything super cold and fruity...popsicles, sorbet etc. Coffe is a turn off now for me as well, but I've been craving chai tea.
                          I'm not super anal about avoiding things, I'll have sushi on occasion if really craving it ( i did more with my daugher) I heat deli meat when home just to be safe and had smoked salmon a couple times during my last pregnancy, and will have the occasional glass of wine, though I'm usually so tired and nauseous that after a couple sips I'm done. Good luck! Oh, and start taking Folic acid ,the earlier the better!

                          1. My OB's basic advice was no caffeine and no alcohol. Later there was info on watching mercury and in my 2nd pregnancy they started with the worries about listeria. But other than that I just tried to be cautious without panic!

                            I ate a lot of watermelon during 1 pregnancy and a lot of spaghetti with butter and parmesan and s&p in my next one.

                            I did like the extra ice cream and milkshakes I could allow myself -- gotta have calcium!

                            Talk to your doctor and read reliable (non overblown) sources, then judge for yourself.

                            I didn't have any single aversion, but there were times that certain foods no longer appealed -- I did lose a lot of my taste for hot food (it also gave me heartburn). Other than that, judge by what appeals at the time!

                            Best of luck!

                            1. You ladies are great! Thanks for all the kind words and interesting tales!

                              1. I would really stress the no alochol thing. Because of the many varied factors, there is no way to predicte a safe level of alcohol for a pregnant woman. Many doctors are not familiar with fetal alcohol disorders and as many 1/3 of OBs are not aware that the Surgeon General currently recommends NO alcohol before or during pregnancy or simply when you may become pregnant.

                                This is an issue near and dear to my heart. I have a good friend with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. For more information, please see http://www.mofas.org/who-we-serve/wom...

                                1. We finally took the plunge and I'm six weeks in!

                                  I simply cannot get enough tomato juice. I like it normally, but I'm knocking back two to three glasses a day. I wish I enjoyed the low sodium kind, but it just doesn't work for me.

                                  Man, I already miss wine. This is making my job as wine director of a large hotel pretty darned difficult! ;)

                                  10 Replies
                                  1. re: invinotheresverde


                                    At least it's tomato juice, and not pickle juice.

                                    How are you going to manage your job during the pregnancy? Lots of tasting and spitting?

                                    1. re: Pia


                                      Yes, lots and lots (and lots and lots) of spitting.

                                      1. re: invinotheresverde

                                        Even with the spitting I wonder how you can manage. Seems pretty common for pregnancy to affect how things taste.

                                    2. re: invinotheresverde

                                      Congratulations! I never had any kind of weird food combo cravings, but I did want certain things, and then I'd want them for quite awhile. I was on a run of peanut M&Ms there for awhile like they were the best food ever, and I'm REALLY not a sweets person, let alone M&Ms. Also, completely detremental to thow Chow manifesto, I started craving fast food, which I have not eaten in 10 years or more. Only while I was PG was it good, and I had to have it a lot for a couple of months there. After the PG was over, it tasted like salty cardboard to me again.

                                      I missed wine at first and then really wanted hard liquor for some reason. That lasted throughout the entire pregnancy. Towards the end of the 3rd trimester I had a few sips of mr. RNR's margarita while out for mexican and it was like the best thing, ever.

                                      With your job, you probably already have a lot of it in place, and surely you could always swirl and spit though that's not that much fun. You are allowed to drink a little here and there in the 3rd trimester (no more than 1 glass/day) but it always really disturbs people if you're out (they stare), so that might not work for you.

                                      Let me know if you have any questions and best of luck the rest of the pregnancy. My little chowser is 15 months now.

                                      1. re: invinotheresverde

                                        Congratulations! I never had any food cravings or aversions for some reason and I refused to give up my morning cup of coffee. Fortunately, my doc thought moderation was a fine thing.

                                        1. re: invinotheresverde

                                          Many congrats. Wait till you're around 8-9 weeks cuz that's when the weird pregnancy eating really kicks in...and the nausea if you happen to suffer from it, but here's to hoping you won't get sick. Have a smooth and happy pregnancy and enjoy your cravings!

                                          1. re: invinotheresverde

                                            Congratulations! Tomato juice craving is a good thing to crave. Unless you have high blood pressure or are retaining water, I wouldn't worry about the sodium. My doctor was less strict about wine and coffee and said a glass of wine would be fine, as would up to two cups of coffee a day. I didn't, just to be safe, but that's the least stringent I've heard.

                                            1. re: invinotheresverde

                                              I'm currently almost 30 weeks pregnant with my second boy. I definitely don't restrict myself in terms of what I eat, which isn't so much of a 'throw caution to the wind' attitude but a healthy knowledge about the guidelines for pregnancy, and the fact that common sense has to be legislated in North America. I have a tall Starbucks coffee every day, and occasionally when I haven't slept well I have more. I eat everything I ate before I got pregnant which did NOT include deli meats. We eat sushi about once per week, but where I live, sushi grade fish has to be frozen for 24 hours beforehand to kill bacteria. We buy most of our cheese from the grocery store so it is pasteurized, however I wouldn't avoid other cheese I came upon, if I liked eating a small amount of it. I eat tuna occasionally, when I feel like it but don't put much thought into how often or how much I've eaten - it's maybe once/week. I have the occasional 1/2 glass of wine or beer when I feel like it. FASD Is not caused by occasional drinking. I also eat chocolate daily, and often. I have gained no more than 17 lbs and probably will gain about 5-10 more.
                                              There are enough rules, regulations, guidelines, opinions, misinformation, etc. to drive pregnant women and new parents crazy. Please don't restrict yourself so much that it negatively affects your pregnancy or coping - there will be enough of that. Happy mom = happy family.
                                              Remember, pregnant women in EVERY OTHER CONTINENT drink wine more than occasionally and are encouraged to do so. French women eat unpasteurized cheeses and Japanese women eat sushi. There are no higher incidences of FASD, fetal mortality, etc. in those countries, based on these factors. North Americans just need too many rules to frame common sense and behaviour.

                                              1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                yay! another chowpup in the making :) congratulations!

                                              2. My dr said no alcohol, limited caffeine, and no raw fish. But I was morning sick all day for the first couple of months, and hot beverages made me feel worse, so the caffeine problem was pretty much solved for me, and the rest was easy. But the weird thing was what would make me feel sick just to smell - pregnancy 1, I couldn't tolerate even the smell of chinese food or strong seafood smells. Pregnancy 2, I couldn't eat pizza without terrible indigestion (first thing I ate was pizza after giving birth, and it couldn't have tasted better!). I craved hot and spicy with both kids, and my second can't eat anything hot - I ruined her, even pepper is too hot. I also craved KFC mashed potatoes and gravy with first kid.

                                                At the end with both kids, my dr told me I could have a small glass of wine if I wanted, but it gave me terrible indigestion, so I didn't even miss it, really. I am a beer lover, and all through my pregnancy if I wanted a beer, I'd take a swig of my husband's......That was probably what I missed most - beer....

                                                1. I also knew I was pregnant all 3 times when the smell of coffee made me nauseous and I had to switch to tea which I never touched. I also couldn't stand the smell of cigarettes and any perfume or colognes.

                                                  Bad heartburn in the last trimesters meant low carb and sugars which made it worse. I drank lots of milk to combat the heartburn. No cravings in any pregnancies.

                                                  My first pregnancy the doc told me to eat liver. A year later with the next one he said no liver and no soft cheeses.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: smartie

                                                    End of first pregnancy, I craved red koolaid, but it gave me terrible indigestion, so I'd drink it, then chew a bunch of tums........

                                                  2. With both kids, first trimeseter I ate lots of salty carbs. Salt bagels and pita chips in particular. Also drank tons of milkshakes. Ice cream. Could not get enough sweets and dairy. Cap'n Crunch with milk. And the occasional salty Arbys roast beef. Second child I also craved baked potatoes. /And super-spicy food. Lots and lots of super-spicy asian food. Mostly vegetarian. Could not be near chicken. I missed my wine and raw fish sushi, though ate plenty veggie sushi. First child I avoided soft cheeses. Second child I threw caution to the wind and ate whatever cheese I wanted. Good luck!!

                                                    1. Both pregnancies, in the first trimester, my own cooking often did not taste good to me - my friend had the same experience.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: julesrules

                                                        I couldn't eat any fish other than canned tuna, which I craved. Couldn't even walk into a fish store - bleh. And I craved grapefruit, which I otherwise really don't like. I've since thought of craving grapefruit as a personal pregnancy test.

                                                        1. re: janeh

                                                          You never know, it could be different with each kid!

                                                          This time around, I haven't had any cravings yet that just hit me like with kid #1 -- but several times, someone has mentioned some type of food in passing (like, "Last night, we were out for Korean when suddenly aliens descended in a UFO!") and all I can think of for days is "MUST HAVE KOREAN FOOD."

                                                          (p.s. - luckyfatima, loved your response above, and on other posts, I love reading your wisdom about Indian/South Asian food and often use your advice.)

                                                      2. Congrats on the new wee one :)

                                                        For me, I had afternoon sickness from Week 6-14. It started everyday around 1pm. It felt like I was hungover. Horrible feeling, I thought it'd never end.

                                                        I never craved anything specific but, loved comfort food. I found myself going back to eating what I did as a kid. Kraft Dinner, mashed potatoes and as much pasta as I could get. I wanted pasta every night. haha. What I didn't like was anything greek style, grilled peppers, pork, and chicken wings. Yuck! Also I didn't get heart burn ever, until I was pregnant. Last trimester, ate a lot of tums

                                                        6 Replies
                                                        1. re: livetocook

                                                          I have the afternoon sickness as we speak. Ugh.

                                                          1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                            FWIW, my doctor told me women who have some sort of sickness/nausea have lower rates of miscarriage. It was funny to read above that you said you're fat--in my mind, I picture you to be tall, like 5'10" and really thin.

                                                            1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                              A friend of mine had morning sickness for the entire 9 months, for *both* pregnancies. It just never went away. She's also part of the 1% of pregnant women who produce a crazy amount of saliva, making her having to carry a spit bottle around all the time. Good times....

                                                              1. re: linguafood

                                                                Everyone keeps telling me to eat saltines, but they taste like cardboard. All I really want is Top Ramen and a vanilla shake.

                                                                1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                  Ain't nuttin' wrong with ramen in my book. 'cept for the sodium I guess.

                                                          2. The only thing I gave up was wine. Didn't miss it.

                                                            Now there were several things I couldn't stomach that I normally loved, because I developed an aversion to them during pregnancy, and some things that I craved that I normally didn't eat very often (like hot dogs).

                                                            But there was nothing I had to give up eating. What are you thinking you'll need to give up?

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                              I've given up caffeine, all booze, unpasteurized cheeses and diet soda. I know most things are fine in moderation, but I'm not exactly a moderation kinda gal.

                                                              1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                For me it wasn't giving things up, so much as what I *had* to consume: glasses of milk. I hate drinking milk!

                                                                1. re: 512window

                                                                  I have no problem with that, I can easily go through a couple of quarts or more per day. But when I was pregnant, I started having the most awful charlie horse cramps. The doc finally figured out that even though my intake of milk was so high (already way higher than the recommendation for pregnant women) , the pregnancy was putting enough of a drain on my normal (for me) milk intake that I needed to increase it even MORE.

                                                                  I did, and the cramping stopped. Good think I love milk!

                                                            2. Just about 21 weeks down and the horrible vomiting has finally tapered off! IV fluid and Zofran helped a ton, but I was living in the hospital.

                                                              I can't get enough sugar, which is weird, as I've never had a sweet tooth at all. I lost >20 pounds from being so sick though, so I guess I can splurge on the sweets a bit.

                                                              Find out the gender December 8th. Soooo excited!

                                                              5 Replies
                                                              1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                Congratulations! Sorry to hear you've been so sick. If it's any consolation, my OB told me the women who are the sickest during pregnancy tend to have the healthiest babies.

                                                                1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                  I'm glad you're feeling better, and I totally get the sweets thing, too. I am at 33 weeks right now and, while I've *never* had a sweet tooth, am eating sugar like crazy...even things I don't care for normally, like cupcakes and skittles, of all things. Or bowls of frosted flakes with really cold milk. My hubby brought home Count Chocula cereal as a joke and I scarfed that, too!
                                                                  The strangest thing is throughout this pregnancy (and the last one) I couldn't stand the smell of scrambled eggs, or bacon. Sausage is no problem and in fact I crave it. Making breakfast for the family is tricky, certainly!

                                                                  1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                    invino: I'm 26 weeks and even though I can usually control my sweet tooth, it's been a little out of control lately. Meet you at Linda's Donuts tomorrow morning?

                                                                    1. re: Pia

                                                                      Seriously. I just mowed a ton of TJ's Candy Cane Joe-Joe's.

                                                                      1. re: Pia

                                                                        I'm a few weeks behind you, and I have NO sweet tooth at all! Not much of an appetite either. Breakfast is easy- glass of skim chocolate milk and frozen waffle or english muffin. After that... not so much.

                                                                        No problem cooking or smelling meat or chicken but I just can't bring myself to eat it!