First of all, congrats! You are pregnant! It’s an exciting but also stressful time. You have to watch your nutrient intake, your exercise level, stop unhealthy habits, and avoid certain skincare chemicals that are harmful to your baby.
Anyways, you are a few weeks into your pregnancy, and immediately you start craving some food. What is it? Some women begin craving salty foods while others desire sweet items.
Cravings women experience during their pregnancy are very common. More than half of the pregnant women experience cravings at some point in their pregnancy.
In one old Asian folklore, it is said that sweet cravings indicate a boy and sour cravings indicate a girl. However, it’s just a tale, there are no scientific proof.
What are pregnancy cravings?
This sudden desire to eat something during pregnancy is – literally – pregnancy cravings. It is certainly a common happening. Sometimes the cravings you experience are very difficult to ignore. In certain cases, sudden intense cravings can be a warning sign showing that something might be wrong.
So here we have compiled everything you need to know about pregnancy cravings and when to see your doctor in case of intense pregnancy cravings.
When do pregnancy cravings start in a pregnant woman?
At the stage at which most women don’t even know that they are pregnant, these cravings can start. And sometimes, these cravings begin late and then last throughout the pregnancy of the woman.
But, in most cases, no matter when these cravings start, they show a peak in the second trimester of pregnancy, which means from 3rd month onward. These cravings peak with some physiological signs like swelling in ankles and back pain.
These signs can reduce in the third trimester. After the delivery of the baby, the cravings can subside.
Why do you feel pregnancy cravings?
There are many hormonal, physiological, and psychological changes women experience throughout their pregnancy. All these changes occur together resulting in intense cravings. As all the changes coincide, it is difficult to identify the root cause of pregnancy cravings in a pregnant woman.
According to gynecologists, pregnancy cravings are not entirely understood, but they must be due to hormonal changes in a pregnant woman’s body. Due to hormonal changes in pregnant women, one can start feeling a difference in their taste, making them like a new food or avoid a favorite food before pregnancy.
They say that drastic hormonal fluctuations can sometimes present themselves as nutritional cravings, including cravings for salt, calcium, or fat.
As we know that some women crave pickles during their pregnancy, Which means that their bodies want sodium as pickles are high in sodium. But it is not always due to nutritional demand. Sometimes, you are just in the mood for them.
It is difficult to understand, but the pregnancy cravings are also difficult to ignore.
What food aversion do women experience in pregnancy?
Food aversion is an opposite phenomenon to food cravings. Both food aversions and cravings usually start at the same time in pregnancy.
According to some studies, desire for specific food may not result in vomiting or morning sickness, but food aversion can result in these symptoms.
According to an observation, most women develop an aversion to meat during pregnancy. The sight or smell of fresh meat can result in sickness, nausea, and vomiting in pregnant women. While some women do not exhibit any aversion towards meat, meat consumption can even result in illness.
Doctors say that it might be because of the body’s reaction to the bacteria meat carries. The body protects itself and the baby from the bacteria by inducing vomit. Cravings are not very harmful to women as compared to food aversions.
What will a woman crave during pregnancy?
Many of the cravings a woman experiences are harmless, and sometimes they are even funny. But according to some researches, the most common cravings experienced by pregnant women are:
- Sweet food
- Dairy items like cheese
- Citrus fruits
- Fast food
- Chinese food
- Ice pops
- Boiled eggs
- Garlic mushrooms
- Mixed salads like grated carrot and cucumber
According to a survey, citrus fruits and chocolate are among the most common cravings in pregnant women. Sometimes, a woman craves odd combinations like pickles and ice creams.
Should you see your doctor about pregnancy cravings?
Pregnancy cravings are usually safe and fine, but if it’s any of these, consider seeing a doctor:
Any deficiency of a specific vitamin or mineral can make you desire inorganic food.
For example, if you have iron deficiency, you can crave chalk and dirt. You will feel an intense craving for these inorganic substances. It is then a warning sign of your iron deficiency.
It would help if you see your doctor immediately because dirt and clay ingestion can be dangerous.
Nutritional deficiencies during pregnancy also have other side effects such as hair loss and anomalies in the baby’s growth.
If you crave a lot for unhealthy food, then get yourself checked by your doctor.
Sometimes you crave unhealthy food – which is normal. But, frequent consumption of unhealthy food can result in an imbalanced diet
A balanced diet is essential for you and your child. For example, if you consume a diet lacking in iron and iodine, it can result in developmental anomalies in your child.
An unbalanced diet is also harmful to a pregnant woman as if you eat a lot of fat; it can result in gestational diabetes in the mother which is dangerous for both mother and child.
So, in this case, a nutritionist can be of great help. They can help you handle your cravings, aversions and make you a proper food chart to avoid negative consequences.
Pregnancy cravings are usual, but any intense, repeated, and unusual desire is harmful and a warning sign of any underlying abnormality.
There are many hormonal, physiological, and psychological changes women experience throughout their pregnancy. All these changes co-occur and can result in intense cravings or aversions.
Most cravings are harmless, and sometimes they are even funny. But if you notice any unusual cravings (like inedible things), don’t hesitate to contact your doctor. Hesitation can result in severe complications in both baby and mother.
So, it is best to ask your doctor about your situation and get it checked timely as timely medical intervention can prevent serious outcomes.