Understanding Food Cravings During Pregnancy

There are several common cravings that women may experience during pregnancy. And while almost every mother will have some cravings while pregnant, what those cravings are and how intense they may be will vary with each individual. The following information describes what cravings are, some of the more common cravings, and how a pregnant woman should handle the cravings she has.

What Are Cravings?

Understanding cravings while you’re expecting begins by knowing what kind of changes are taking place in your body and what they mean. The high hormone levels that occur during pregnancy can affect your sense of smell and taste. This heightened awareness of the senses may be behind an increase in food cravings. Generally, the causes for cravings could include a rise in hormones and the fact that more nutrition is needed for both mother and the baby, causing a spike in hunger. Some of the more common cravings include:

  • Chocolate
  • Pickles
  • Cheese
  • Bacon
  • Ice Cream

Cravings fall into four categories. These are salty, spicy, sweet, and sometimes sour. Craving a Big Mac and fries could be a signal from the body that you need more protein or sodium. Desiring ice cream could actually be your body telling you that it needs more calcium.

How Should You Handle Cravings While Pregnant?

Some women see pregnancy as a license to eat and a time to indulge in all their intense cravings for particular types of food. While giving in to most food cravings while pregnant is normally not harmful, there can be some exceptions. A condition that is called pica can occur when an individual craves non-food items. Even this, however, is sometimes related to nutritional deficiencies with the body actually craving food.

Two of the main concerns regarding giving into cravings are consuming too many empty calories while at the same time not taking in enough nutritional calories. Indulging excessively in high-calorie, unhealthy foods can cause a woman to gain too much weight, which can cause health problems for both the woman and the baby. It’s usually okay to indulge your cravings as long as you don’t go overboard. It’s sometimes advised to eat something healthy like fruits or lean protein along with each indulgence.


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