Many mums will no doubt know what it’s like to experience strong aversions during pregnancy, but few could imagine feeling ready to throw up at the scent of water.
Image: Luana (Supplied))
Women from all over the world will report unexpected and sometimes bizarre changes to their senses during pregnancy, from craving charcoal to feeling queasy at the sight of takeaway dishes they once salivated over.
However, few aversions could be as intense as the one experienced by 40-year-old PR professional and mum-of-three, Luana Ribeira, whose sense of smell went completely ‘haywire’ during her third pregnancy.
Like many expectant mothers, Luana, 40, felt her stomach churn at the usual offending smells – a mere whiff of food cooking or a squirt of fragrant perfume.
More unusually, however, she also experienced an extremely inconvenient aversion to the most essential liquid you can possibly think of – water.
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This tricky aversion began when Luana was around five weeks pregnant and lasted right up until she gave birth to her son Celyn in June. During this time, Luana would feel physically sick when a tap was turned on, even if she was standing right at the other side of the room.
Luana said: “I felt like I had a superhuman sense of smell, the smell of the water was putting me off. It made me sick like I was going to throw up as soon as I put the tap on!”
Naturally, finding beverages that didn’t make her want to throw up proved to be a constant challenge and Luana discovered that she could only keep down one specific brand of bottled water – Fiji Water.
With this in mind, Luana had no choice but to stock up on Fiji Water all throughout her pregnancy, splashing out £90 per month on the stuff in a bid to keep hydrated. At one point, she even found herself fantasising about bathing in it.
Recalling a time when she ran out of Fiji water and had to make do, Luana said: “I thought I’d try drinking tap water with Ribena in to disguise the taste because I was really thirsty and it was night time so there was nowhere I could go to get Fiji water! So first I filtered the water, then I boiled the water and let it cool down and then I put Ribena in it. I thought it might be all right but it wasn’t, it was really bad!”
Personal hygiene also proved to be a significant problem, with Luana admitting that she “didn’t shower at all” during her pregnancy, explaining that “as soon as I turned it on I’d be throwing up – so I used a lot of baby wipes”.
Poor Luana wasn’t even able to enjoy a well-deserved bath to soothe her cares away. Although her partner Al would try and draw her a lovely bath with “lots of nice smelling things in it”, Luana would simply “get in the bath and get out again”, finding it ‘impossible’ to relax while “smelling chemicals from the tap water”.
Fortunately, Luana was able to see the funny side of her frustrating situation, describing her powerful aversion to water as “such a ridiculous thing”.
She added: “I thought it was quite amusing that it was only Fiji water as well, although I could drink other bottled water if there was absolutely no way of getting Fiji water. Fiji was the clear favourite!”
Experiencing a heightened sense of smell, known as hyperosmia, is a common symptom of pregnancy thought to be caused by hormones. And while Luana’s extreme aversion went away after little Celyn was born, the mum still can’t quite bring herself to drink tap water.
Prior to her own ordeal, Luana ‘didn’t have a clue’ just how seriously aversions could affect women during pregnancy. Although she’d suffered morning sickness with her previous two pregnancies, this was the first time she’d had aversions.
Luana said: “I heard you can go off stuff, but I didn’t realise it could be as strong as somebody putting a tap on and me having to throw up. It should be something that is talked about more.”
Offering some words of wisdom to other expectant mums dealing with this condition, Luana added: “I just want to say this is temporary, hang in there and do everything you can to avoid whatever it is you have the aversion to and make substitutes and you will be fine, you will return back to normal”.
Have you experienced any unusual pregnancy cravings or aversions? Let us know.