A Meat Aversion During Pregnancy: Why it happens and What to do about it


It is fairly common to moms to gain an aversion to meat during their first trimester of pregnancy and if you are anything like I was during my third pregnancy you may be averted to it over the entire pregnancy (this is not good).  I only wish I would have known what I know now about nutrition in order to get a handle on all my food aversions.  Poor little bean and poor mama.

Consuming the proper amount of protein during pregnancy is incredibly important.  So a meat aversion is not conducive to an optimal pregnancy.  During digestion, proteins convert to amino acids which are necessary to to build tissues, muscles, organs and hair.  You can’t live without them and your baby can’t either.  You need quality protein to produce a healthy, happy little bean.  You also need quality protein to experience an elevated mood and to kick anxiety, and depression to the curb.

Francesca Naish in her book Heatlhy Parents, Better Babies is a fertility specialist in Austrailia.  She recommends that her pregnant clients eat 20% more protein once they are expecting in order to meet the vast nutritional needs for increased protein during pregnancy.

What many doctors won’t tell you (because they just don’t know) is that a decrease of stomach acid is what causes an aversion to meat.  When your stomach isn’t producing enough hydrocholoric acid and pepsin for digestion it simply can not digest the meat that you eat.  So, the body causes you to feel no desire at all for meat since it will not be able to digest it anyhow.

Low stomach acid also inhibits the absorption of other vitamins and minerals so it is important to make sure that you are always producing plenty of stomach acid pregnant or not so that you are getting all the nutrients that you need for proper function of the body.

Why do new pregnant woman often produce too little hydrochloric acid?  

That is a great question.  I’m actually not really sure what the answer is.

Low stomach acid is most definitely caused by nutrient imbalances in the body.  So, my theory is that when that little bean is pulling out the nutrients in mama to grow it will draw from her those she needs to function properly.  The body is designed in such a way that during pregnancy that baby will get what it needs if mamma has it in her.  That is why I feel as though it is SO important to be properly nourished before pregnancy takes place so that you can experience optimal health during pregnancy as well as the ability to help your child grow and thrive during its time in the womb.

In order to get adequate protein and properly digested amino acids during pregnancy you must also have enough hyrdocholoric acid to digest them.

Here are some ways that you can increase the hyrdochloric acid in your stomach so that you can digest the meat that you and your baby need.  You don’t always need to use all these methods at once.  You can mix and match or try just one at a time to see what might be most helpful to you.  You’ll know they are working when you desire to eat meat again.

Still don’t know where to start?  I offer nutritional consultations for pregnant mommies in order to help them feeling their best before, during and after pregnancy.  Find out more about my services.


Naish, Francesca. Healthy Parents, Better Babies

Wright, Jonathan Why Stomach Acid is Good for You


  1. Very interesting! I had an aversion to eggs and meat during a couple of my pregnancies. Wish I know then what I know now!
    linda spiker recently posted…Pear and Brie Salad with Honey Champagne VinaigretteMy Profile

  2. This is so interesting. I had an aversion to a lot of food my first pregnancy and had no idea what to do about it. I knew my baby needed proper nutrition from my pregnant body, but just couldn’t bring myself to eating a lot of foods. This is great info. I’ll be passing a long to future pregnant friends.
    kristin recently posted…Soaked Chewy Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip CookiesMy Profile

  3. Great info! I had a coffee aversion- which was probably good for me anyhow! lol 🙂

  4. what is the big deal, I have an aversion to meat and was planning on becoming vegan anyway. I am tired of Dr. pushing meat when it is proven to be unhealthy, eat some beans and nuts instead! You will be just as healthy and produce a very healthy child.

    • Maria, there is plenty of good research out there that meat is quite healthy. In studies where meat has been proven unhealthy have been with very unhealthy sick animals. I do not suggest eating animals that have been injected with antibiotics and feed a very poor diet. They are certainly unhealthy. It is very important that pregnant women get enough protein in their diet and animal proteins are the best way to do so. Most vegans have a lot of trouble doing this. I don’t recommend going vegan. For those who are vegan I can only support it when it is a religious or spiritual conviction of one to do so, not for health reasons. You do need the amino acids in animal proteins for proper nutrition and mental health.

  5. Heather says:

    Well now I’m kinda freaked out! I’m 18 weeks pregnant with our first little one and, while I usually LOVE meat, I am JUST now beginning to be able to eat it again without getting sick. I’ve been craving refried beans like nobody’s business & have eaten lots of eggs. Hopefully meat in my second & third trimester will make up for the deficit!

    • Becky Webb says:

      Eggs are a great source of protein! Don’t freak out! Just keep making sure there is plenty of protein in your diet!

  6. Gillyan says:

    I am extremely disappointed in your assertions that vegans cannot consume enough protein to be healthy. You obviously haven’t done enough research on this topic to make an accurate statement and while I support everyone’s opinion, if you are going to choose to advise on the subject you really need to get your information together.

    • Becky Webb says:

      Actually, I know many many individuals who have changed their vegan lifestyle exactly because of this reason. These individulas were suffering from anxiety, depression and other disorders that can be linked to low protein levels. Although everyone is a bio individual and some people may benefit from a vegan lifestyle for short period of time, most people end up suffering in the long term. I recently read some research that suggests that someone eating vegan from birth can prepare their digestion for their body to handle it, otherwise human digestion doesn’t seem to be equipped to handle the digestion of plant proteins properly. Since pregnant woman need so much protein to nourish their growing baby and very few pregnant woman are vegan from birth I could never encourage a pregnant woman to decline animal proteins and still receive adequate protein for a growing baby. Pregnant mommies are in desperate need of not only protein, but the amino acids that only animal proteins can offer.

      • Christine says:

        uhh… you “know many many individuals”? That’s called anecdotal evidence… and correct me if I’m wrong but you need PEER-REVIEWED randomized studies in order to make these types of assertions as considered even CLOSE to fact.

        You aren’t citing any science to back up what you’re saying!

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