Cravings during pregnancy

Mother and Baby
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Cravings during pregnancy. Image: Getty
Brought to you by Pregnancy and Birth magazine.

You're not the only one whos a slave to their tastebuds during your pregnancy— your baby has tasty preferences of her own!

Your baby doesn't have to wait until she's born to develop a taste for her favourite foods her tastebuds actually form in the womb from about 15 weeks onwards and are fully formed by about week 30. Because the flavours in the foods you eat cross the placenta into your amniotic fluid, she'll be able to taste whatever you've just eaten. Strangely enough, your baby will also get a taste for all the foods that you like to eat. She's particularly keen on anything that has a strong flavour (such as curry and garlic), as this gives the amniotic fluid a stronger taste. So even if you're struggling with the vindaloo, your baby probably loves it! What's more, this doesn't stop once she's born when she's feeding, she'll be able to taste traces of your last meal in your breast milk and will prefer the flavours that she got used to in the womb.

The food you eat can also have strange effects on your baby. She will get used to all of the food you eat regularly and she can tell if you eat anything unusual. If it's a particularly strong taste that she's not used to, she might even screw up her face to say yuck! Her body will also have reactions to some foods, just as yours does. If you drink a strong cup of coffee, her heart rate will quicken and if you associate the taste of something with pleasure (such as chocolate or biscuits), she will too. It has also been proven that sweet foods and cold drinks make your baby move about. So if you go for a scan and the baby's in the wrong position, you'll be given something sweet or cold to make her wriggle into the right position!

Whilst still in the womb, your baby already has already developed an inbuilt sweet tooth, so if you are craving sweet foods and sickly treats, you're not the only one. And because the food you eat flavours your amniotic fluid, if you've eaten something sugary, she'll sip the fluid more quickly. Babies don't actually need to eat or drink as they are fed through the umbilical cord, so if your baby chooses to drink amniotic fluid, it must be because she likes the taste!

For more great stories on pregnancy and motherhood go to Pregnancy and Birth magazine.

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