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Understanding Pregnancy Cravings

Every woman experiences pregnancy differently therefore it is not surprising that some pregnant women have no cravings whilst others have very unusual ones. Being individuals is what makes us interesting.

I had no cravings during either of my full term pregnancies but I am fascinated by the weird cravings others have had. Who says pregnancy is just 9 months of waiting for your baby to be born? It has lots of weird and wonderful experiences too.

Besides cravings, pregnancy also brings about a heightened sense of smell and many women experience enjoyment from crazy smells or smells that would have previously have had them running such as petrol fumes and revulsion of every-day smells such as cooking, perfumes and cigarette smoke.

Certain smells may even cause nausea. So if you are dealing with morning sickness, it is best to try and avoid any offending odors that might exacerbate the nausea.

During pregnancy your taste buds dictate your cravings and they are usually very specific. For example, your craving may be for a watermelon with pepper on it, not just watermelon.

Cravings during pregnancy can be overwhelming. No wonder dads-to-be are willing to dash out in the middle of the night to satisfy their partner’s urgent desire for some weird food combination.

When Do Pregnancy Cravings Start?

These usually occur in the first trimester (first 12 weeks) but can continue into the second trimester of pregnancy.

Some women have reported a sensitivity to smells even before they knew they were pregnant.

Why Do You Have Pregnancy Cravings?

There are many theories as to why, but currently the exact reason for cravings and aversions during pregnancy is unknown. The theories are based on biological, environmental and psychological factors.

From fluctuating hormone levels, lacking certain nutrients, poor diet and stress to “it makes you feel better” self-indulgence, it is all still speculation.

Science has not been able to provide an answer to this question as yet.

Common Pregnancy Cravings

Chocolate, ice cream, ice, milk, fruit, cheese, hot chips, pizza, sweets and sugary treats, pickles, curry, strong tastes such as lemon and chillies and greasy foods such as fried chicken are some of the most common food cravings during pregnancy.

How you like them and what combinations you prefer varies from person to person.Pregnancy Cravings

Craving ice during pregnancy – from ice cubes, ice pops or slush ice, it can be devoured with gusto. It is sometimes associated with anaemia (low iron level in the blood), so it is advisable to have that checked. Pregnant women who crave ice describe it as an obsession to chew ice no matter where they are.

Here are some interesting combinations I found:

  • Hot Cheetos with black liquorice
  • Guacamole and pumpkin ice cream
  • Tuna with peach yogurt
  • Tuna with fudge flavoured ice cream
  • Raw onion dipped in mustard

PICA pregnancy cravings are for non-food items such as soil, clay, laundry starch, cigarette ashes, toothpaste, coal, chalk, sponges and matches. Pica is when you crave something that has no nutritional value and is not common in pregnancy. (Pica in Latin means magpie, a bird that eats almost anything)

Pica cravings are a health concern as they may be toxic and may interfere with your normal nutrition and lead to a deficiency.

Any pica cravings during pregnancy should be discussed with your health care provider.

How To Cope With Crazy Pregnancy Cravings

Whether your cravings are mild or intense, try to keep your diet as well balanced and healthy as possible.

Make a list of alternatives for your specific cravings, for example eat a smaller portion of the food you crave and supplement with a healthier snack.

To take your mind off that overpowering urge, use distractions such as taking the dog for a walk, joining a walking group or just something you really enjoy doing (besides satisfying that craving).

Get your friends to help you with your cravings. Often just having someone to talk to and knowing you have support will help you cope with those crazy cravings that have taken over your life.

Remember you are not eating for two, just for you and a little bit extra.

You will find that your cravings change during your pregnancy and often disappear around 4 months.

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