Most pregnant women expect morning sickness and backaches, but few have heard about dysgeusia, or the "bad taste problem." This surprisingly common condition, likely caused by pregnancy hormones, can result in the absence of taste or altered taste, such as a metallic or bitter sensation, says Stacey Nelson, R.D., a senior clinical nutritionist at Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston. Here's how you can combat the condition:
Go sour. Marinate meats in vinegar, soy sauce, or citrus juices, as sour foods stimulate the taste buds and saliva production. Other ideas: Add lemons to water, drink lemon or lime seltzer and lemonade, or suck on citrus drops. 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 savory snacks, such as cheese, peanut butter, or olives.
Change vitamins. Ask your provider about switching to a chewable prenatal vitamin, which may be easier to tolerate.
Brush frequently. Brush your teeth and tongue, and rinse with a baking soda solution (add 1/4 teaspoon soda to 1 cup water) which improves taste by neutralizing pH levels.
Eat what you can. Don't feel guilty if healthy foods turn you off, says Nelson. 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 health care provider.