Pickles and chips? Ice cream? Hot wings? A sudden hankering for an egg salad sandwich (even though you hate eggs)? Sudden craving for Spam – or a sudden aversion to a food you have always loved? The food cravings during pregnancy can be wide and varied from women to women. The burning question is – what do these food cravings mean, and should you follow your stomach?
According to studies around 40% of all pregnant women crave something sweet during pregnancy, while 33% are gravitating toward the salty snacks. As few as 10% reported a strong craving to fruit while 17% reported a sudden love of all things spicy.
While it is true that hormones can cause a drastic change in both your sense of smell and taste – some experts believe the cravings can mean something more. For instance, pica – which is a sudden craving for unusual things such as ice or cleaning products – can signify a nutritional deficiency such as low iron. It is also suggested that strong cravings for chocolate indicate low magnesium. Similarly, if you suddenly desire red meat and want to eat steak for breakfast, lunch and dinner – this could be your body crying out for the almighty protein.
Various studies have been done about food cravings, and it seems that no two experts wholly agree. Still, the common thread is that your food cravings – especially if they are strong and sudden – should be taken seriously. Maybe this is just one way your body and brain revert to innate knowledge to direct you down the right path nutritionally during pregnancy. In other words, your cravings could be sign that you and your baby need something that you are not getting.
The trick is balancing these cravings. If you are constantly eating candy and cookies to satisfy your craving for sweets, you could gain too much weight. Perhaps instead of picking up a chocolate bar, you might find that strawberries or watermelon satisfy your urge. Similarly, your cravings for eggs should be taken as a sign that you need to add more protein to your diet, which you can also get from lean meats.
The reality is that you should be able to eat what you want to during pregnancy – as long as they are actual food items. Part of the fun of pregnancy is finally being able to eat without guilt and as long as your weight gain is slow and steady- there is nothing wrong with following your taste buds and indulging yourself. (Especially given the research that suggests your body may know best!)
So fess up! What did YOU crave during pregnancy?
Written By Stef, Mom of 4 @Momspirational
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.