Pregnancy Foods: Why You Crave Certain Foods When You’re Pregnant
When you’re pregnant, you may crave foods that that you wouldn’t otherwise find appealing. In fact, about half of pregnant women experience a strong craving for certain pregnancy foods. Unfortunately, those cravings aren’t always for healthier stuff like broccoli. It could very well be cookies, brownies, or the stereotypical pregnancy food – pickles! Yet, good nutrition is critical for the development of the little one growing inside you. What you eat is also important for you to feel your best during the nine months of pregnancy. Let’s look at why you have cravings for strange foods when you’re pregnant.
Why Do You Have More Cravings During Pregnancy?
As with most things pregnancy related, you can blame your cravings on hormones. The hormonal changes going on in your body subtly changes the way foods taste and smell. So, something you normally wouldn’t enjoy takes on new appeal. The opposite can happen too, a food you previously salivated over suddenly seems downright distasteful. A sudden dislike for certain foods can be aggravated by morning sickness. If you experience nausea after eating a particular item, you may develop an aversion towards it that lasts for the rest of pregnancy. Food preferences and aversions can definitely shift when you’re carrying a baby.
Some experts believe cravings for certain pregnancy foods indicates an underlying vitamin or mineral deficiency. These cravings are an attempt to make up for a nutritional deficiency. Although this isn’t always the case, you should let your doctor know about any cravings you are having. Sometimes dietary changes can help keep them under control. It’s also important to monitor your iron status throughout pregnancy.
Pregnancy Foods: Should You Be Concerned about Persistent Cravings?
Pregnancy cravings are usually not a cause for concern – they go with the territory. When it becomes troubling is when you crave inedible things, especially if you yield to your cravings. Some women develop a condition called pica, a desire to eat things that aren’t edible such as dirt, clay, ice, stones, or other things that your body doesn’t recognize. You might think it would be easy to keep these urges in check, but not always. If you have cravings for things that aren’t edible, talk to your doctor. Sometimes they point to a deficiency in iron or other mineral or vitamin. As you can imagine, giving it to cravings like this can be harmful and could even lead to an intestinal obstruction. Plus, some non-food items may be toxic to you or your baby.
If your cravings are for pregnancy foods that are edible, the biggest concern is whether indulging in your cravings will lead to excessive weight gain or crowd other nutrient-rich foods out of your diet. Don’t forget – nutrition is even more important when you’re eating for two. Consume a balanced diet of mainly unprocessed foods, including lean protein, healthy fats, and lots of fruits and vegetables. Not all foods are safe during pregnancy. Make sure you have a copy of pregnancy foods to avoid for the health of you and your baby.
WebMD. “Eating Right When Pregnant”
American Pregnancy Association. “Pregnancy and Pica”