Garlic, Carrots, Ethanol, Tobacco
A variety of substances can change the odor of the amniotic fluid. For instance, in one study, scientists gave pregnant women garlic pills 45 minutes before they were to undergo an amniocentesis. After collecting the samples, the garlic had significantly changed the smell of the amniotic fluid. Other odors—such as carrots—can infuse the amniotic fluid, too, as can harmful substances, like ethanol and tobacco.
Pass the Carrots, Please!
Another study concludes that you can give an infant a taste for carrots by introducing them early. Women drank carrot juice while they were pregnant and later, while nursing. Researchers then considered their babies' reactions to carrot-flavored cereal versus babies whose mothers had only drank water. Children of the carrot-drinking moms were more accepting of the carrot-flavored food than the other group of infants.
Eat Well, Eat a Variety
Researchers like Dr. Alan Hirsch, MD, at the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago point out other potential benefits to eating well and eating a variety of foods during your pregnancy. "Babies will likely be less neophobic (afraid of new things)," says Dr. Hirsch. He suggests that babies may be more willing to try new things—new foods, in particular—because of experiences in utero.
Dr. Hirsch explains that mothers who practice good, healthy eating habits during pregnancy followed by healthy food choices while nursing give their children a head start in forming good habits, too.
So the next time you sit down for a meal, consider that you really are eating for two. The food choices you make during your pregnancy may be the same ones your children will be making for themselves before you know it, so bring on the broccoli!