Lots of women say their appetites change during pregnancy, with new cravings and flavor aversions—but it's not all pickles and ice cream. Here, five women reveal how their appetites really changed during pregnancy.
1. The meat eater who zeroed in on the children's menu
"During my first trimester, I wasn't sick, but still, I didn't have much of an appetite. When I did, I pretty much ate like a kid, craving chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, and grilled cheese. In the second and third trimesters, I was always hungry and constantly eating. Although I used to prefer fish [and would eat] meat every now and then, I found that all I ever wanted was meat. I ate tons and tons of burgers and steaks, ordering meat every time I ate out, maybe three times a week. And I also ate tons of dessert—every night and sometimes after lunch, not because I craved it, but I figured I could. My body was changing anyway, so it felt like a perfect excuse to eat ice cream and Oreos.
After delivery, I generally went back to the way I ate before getting pregnant, which is to say, less meat and kids' menu fare. Oddly, it wasn't until after delivery that I developed a hate for green peppers, and I still can't eat them—although I'd never taken issue with them before getting pregnant." —Jen, 30
2. The lemon lover who couldn't get enough
"The biggest change for me was that I got really obsessed with one food at a time. Each phase would last for about a month, particularly at the beginning of my pregnancy when I was having morning sickness and stuck with foods I knew I could handle. First it was hummus, then cereal, then, around my second trimester when morning sickness began to subside, anything lemon-flavored. I loved lemon sorbet, popsicles, and I couldn't get enough lemonade—I would drink lemonade at every meal and have some sort of lemon dessert every night. During a trip to Italy during my pregnancy, I found lemon candies in my hotel rooms and ate [those] constantly during the day too. That was the biggest change for me, since I'd never craved or even really liked anything lemon—it had always tasted too sour for me before. However, since giving birth seven months ago, I haven't had anything lemon-flavored. It's not that I don't like it any more, I just don't crave it."—Katie, 32
3. The coffee lover who kicked her caffeine fix
"I found myself steering away from processed foods and becoming extra-committed to eating extremely healthy—wholesome proteins like salmon; colorful veggies like carrots, sweet potato, peppers ... and healthy fats like avocado and olive oil.
I just felt like all the nutrients were going straight to the baby, particularly the protein, which really made a difference in my energy levels. It was as if my body subconsciously knew this was all for the benefit of having a healthy baby.
Although I'd been a devout daily coffee-drinker for more than 10 years—like, addicted, and unable to function normally without it—during my first trimester, before I started telling people I was pregnant, it began to make me nauseous. Although I'd heard it's safe to drink small amounts of coffee throughout pregnancy, I'd planned to give it up during pregnancy just in case. The nausea actually helped me cut it out entirely without missing it a bit, and I haven't gone back—even after giving birth." —Hali, 32
4. The roasted vegetable lover who couldn't even
"In the beginning of my pregnancy, I couldn't even say the words 'roasted veggies' without wanting to vomit, even though they're something I typically love and used to make as often as four or five times per week before getting pregnant. I loved brussels sprouts, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, and green beans.
After giving birth, I was able to stomach roasted vegetables again but they still don't appeal to me as much as they used to. Now, I prefer to prepare my vegetables cold, in salads, rather than cooked. I'm generally less into 'comfort food' and more into refreshing foods like salads and sushi. It could have to do with experiencing what it feels like to gain 30 pounds in nine months but it really feels like there's been a change in my stomach, not just in my head.
Also, toward the end of my pregnancy, I ate a lot of pineapple ... I think I overdid it, because I'm not such a big fan anymore." —Jillian, 30
5. The fat- and carb-craver
"Toward the end of my first pregnancy, during which I never had morning sickness, I just felt more emotional and tired than usual, I found myself craving dietary fat, particularly coconut ice cream, which I ate two or three times a week, and avocado, which I ate every day. Guac was my favorite, but sometimes I'd just open an avocado and eat it. This time around, I've been craving more carbs like bread, crackers, and chips, and I've found that if I don't eat frequently, I get a bit nauseous. Still, it's not like I'm eating for two. I only need a little bit more food and to eat it more often. It's nothing like the way I felt when I was breastfeeding—I couldn't sleep through the night without eating!" —Laura, 34
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.