What did your mother eat while pregnant?

By Martin Zibauer »Martin Zibauer

August 12th, 2011



It may not be what mom cooked, but what she ate that determines your food preferences. At least, babies get to taste-test in the womb:

“Things like vanilla, carrot, garlic, anise, mint — these are some of the flavors that have been shown to be transmitted to amniotic fluid or mother’s milk,” says Julie Mennella, who studies taste in infants at the Monell Chemical Senses Center.

And tasting a food in utero seems to predispose a baby to like it. It works that way in rabbits, so Menella divided a sample of human moms into three groups. One drank carrot juice all through pregnancy, one drank it while breastfeeding, and the third avoided carrots. And so, the carrot-exposed babies like carrot-flavoured cereal.

To test flavour transmission to the womb, moms swallowed garlic pills just before a routine amniotic fluid sample was taken. Then a testing panel gave the fluid the sniff test. Maureen O’Connor, on Gawker, objects:

…sniffing vials of garlic-flavored amniotic fluid is the second-grossest thing I have imagined all day. Grossest thing: Spending nine months floating in sea of garlic-flavored amniotic fluid…

Did your mother crave a certain food during pregnancy, and did she pass that on to you?

Photos: Carly & Art and Ernst Vikne


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Aug. 22, 2011

9:48 am

As far as I know, from stories I remember hearing, my Mom ate whatever she wanted...no cravings, nothing unusual. Me however, craved dry roasted peanuts for both of my pregnancies. My daughter is now pregnant with her first and I am amazed at how many foods she was told not to eat because of their possible danger to the baby, like sushi and soft cheeses!

Martin Zibauer

Martin Zibauer

Aug. 15, 2011

9:53 am

That's fascinating. My mother doesn't like bananas--I do, but not at all if they're overripe. My dad claims my mom passed bananaphobia on, but he'd say it happened when I was a young child, not in the womb.


Aug. 14, 2011

3:58 pm

When my mother was pregnant, she ate lots and lots of banana's and scalloped potatoes. Everytime she ate a banana she would get ill and throw up. Initially she thought it was "morning sickness", but it kept happening until later in her pregnancy. It wasnt until she told her doctor about it, that they realized it was the baby who didnt' like the bananas and was returning them to sender. To this day, I still can't eat a banana, I don't even like the smell of them. But scalloped potatoes are by far my favorite!

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