Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Parham, Ellen S.||King, Sondra L.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Home Economics


Pregnancy--Psychological aspects; Taste; Pregnancy--Nutritional aspects


Nutrition is vital to the health and well-being of the pregnant woman, and to the outcome of pregnancy. A woman's diet during pregnancy is determined, in part, by her desire for food. The present study examines two aspects of a woman's desire for food while she is pregnant. The first is any change in her desire for sweet, sour, salty, or bitter tastes; the second is the incidence of cravings and/or aversions experienced. Previous research indicated a difference in taste change depending on the trimester of pregnancy. The limitation of the present study to the first trimester is designed to help distinguish the types of taste changes and cravings/aversions that can be expected during this time. Factors such as a woman's knowledge of proper diet during pregnancy, her weight prior to conception, age, parity, and the degree of nausea and vomiting experienced are considered in order to determine the influence they have upon taste changes and cravings/aversions during early pregnancy. Questionnaires were distributed to 100 women in the first trimester of pregnancy, at the time of a visit to their obstetrician for a routine check-up. The questions attempted to gain information about changes in desire for sweet, sour, salty, or bitter tastes, cravings and aversions for specific foods, reasons for eating more or less of certain foods since becoming pregnant, and opinions about foods that shouldn't be eaten during pregnancy. The women were also asked to respond to questions regarding the degree of nausea and vomiting they experienced, their weight prior to conception, and their age and parity. Fifty-nine percent of the women reported taste changes. The greatest incidence of both increased and decreased liking was found to be for the sweet taste. Ninety-one percent of the women reported cravings or aversions. A high incidence of aversion was found for coffee, tea, and "sweets." Foods frequently craved included ice cream, milk, and fruit. Seventy- six percent of the subjects reported nausea; 45% reported vomiting. More overweight than ideal weight women experienced taste changes in general. A significant difference in desire for salty taste and salty foods was found between these two groups. Parity and age also exerted significant influences upon the taste changes and cravings/aversions experienced. Also, the amount of taste change and craving/aversion appeared to increase proportionately with the severity of nausea and vomiting. Further study is necessary to strengthen the validity of the results presented here, and to determine their value and appropriate application to the question of proper diet and nutrition during pregnancy.


Includes bibliographical references.


62 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type