We've seen the crazy pregnant woman in movies, doing anything and everything to get a hit of her craved food during pregnancy. But is this concept real? And why do pregnant women experience such strong urges to eat or drink certain things?
These's a lot of speculation over why some pregnant women experience cravings and others don't, but at the end of the day it all comes down to all those hormones working overtime to support, protect and develop your growing baby. In early pregnancy your body produces a high level of HCG which can have affect on your brain functions - leading to insatiable appetites of certain products or tastes.
The pregnancy journey is more than just carrying a growing baby. The female body undertakes so many changes during the 40 week process and some of these hormone surges, internal movements and health-related transformations can bring on all kinds of weird and wonderful experiences to the expecting mother.
Standard cravings can vary from strong yearnings for sweet or savoury foods, or simply an abundance of one type of taste. One of my friends said she craved fresh tomatoes during the third trimester, and ate them like apples, which was unlike her as they were usually a food she despised. I also know of many women who crave ice during their pregnancies - even through the Winter months. My own Mother claimed to crunch constantly on bowls of ice during those last few weeks of each of her three pregnancies. And my sister-in-law claimed to be obsessed with Cheddar Cheese during her first trimester as it was the only thing that eased her morning sickness.
These cravings are fairly 'normal' and vary from woman to woman. Some crave sweet chocolate or caramel or fresh cold milk, and others more salty options like chips or olives. All of these things are ok in moderation during pregnancy as long as you're putting you and your baby's health before your cravings. Read our post on Nutrition in Pregnancy for more of a guide on the best types of food to devour.
There are also cases of women craving the most unique tastes during their pregnancy. From charcoal to paper to beer to dirt to cigarette ashes - these are just some of the crazy cravings that women have a hunger for, and seek medical help as to why their brains and taste buds are going into a spin over. This is called 'Pica' and it is the notion of wanting to eat nonfood items during pregnancy.
Some of these 'nonfood' cravings can be toxic or very dangerous to your health or that of your growing baby, therefore it is important you get a hold of these urges. Some professionals suggest getting your iron levels checked if you're craving 'not so normal' things, as low iron mixed with pregnancy hormones can cause havoc in your body. Others suggest chewing gum and ensuring you're eating regular nourishing meals to avoid hunger or low-sugar-levels.
Chat with your Doctor if you're worried about your cravings and/or diet. But take peace in knowing around 80% of women experience an uncontrollable desire to consume certain tastes at some stage during their pregnancy.
Have you had any weird or wacky cravings during your pregnancy? Feel free to comment below. For me; it was pickled onions, cinnamon doughnuts, ice cubes and sniffing cold beer. On the flipside I couldn't stand the smell of bacon cooking (a smell I usually love) and gagged at the scent of raw garlic.
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