Pregnancy is a very challenging and confusing time for a woman. Our bodies have to cope with hormonal changes which can affect different aspects of our lives – including what we eat. We may find out that we suddenly hate some foods as they disgust us and make us noxious, while we suddenly crave more for some other types of food that we normally would not want.
It is common to crave for food during pregnancy, about 4 in 10 pregnant women would most likely have cravings for “strange foods”. Most of these foods that we suddenly crave for are sweet foods with lots of refined sugar or junk food.
Pregnancy cravings can be difficult for us because giving into these cravings can make us lose our perfect body shape and gain more body fat after pregnancy. This can be devastating to our self-esteem. However, it could be worse.
Weight gain during pregnancy can lead to complications during pregnancy and childbirth. So, the question is, what do we normally crave for and how can we manage these cravings so we do not gain weight?
Keep reading the article and we will tell you common foods pregnant women normally crave for, what is causing those cravings and how you can best manage them.
What are the most common pregnancy cravings?
We are going to give you a breakdown of some foods that are commonly desired by pregnant women according to a study from the most desired food items to the least desired ones:
- Sweet foods: pregnant women tend to develop a sweet tooth and crave for foods with refined sugar like chocolate bars, ice cream, sweets, desserts, cake etc.
- Fruits: This is healthier than the first option. However, pregnant women tend to crave for fruits that have a high sugar content – otherwise known as sweet fruits.
- Dairy products including milk, cheese, yogurt and cream
- Carbs like pasta, bread, and starchy food
- Salty snacks like peanuts and corn stacks
- Fast foods like pizza, Chinese cuisine and chips, and fish
- Vegetables and salads
Some pregnant women tend to shun some meats such as beef and fish even though they could still be in among the top cravings for other pregnant women.
What causes these cravings?
While the exact cause of these cravings during pregnancy are not well-known. However, there are some possible causes given by experts. During pregnancy, we have at least one “tenant” living in our bellies which we need to feed. This increases the number of calories we need because we have to feed the baby in our stomach as we feed ourselves. This can cause us to crave for more energy-rich foods like sugary foods and carbs.
Also, hormonal changes in our body could also be another cause of our increased cravings during pregnancy. Changes in estrogen and progesterone levels can cause reactions in our bodies that increase our cravings for some foods
In addition to that, it is also possible that we may be craving for sweet foods because they are less likely to make us nauseous.
What can we do about our cravings?
Well, there is not much to do. Taking appetite suppressants can harm you and your baby, hence, it is not advisable to take drugs for your cravings. Besides, giving in to your cravings occasionally is usually harmless. However, here are some tips:
- Have moderate amounts of exercise – a brisk walk for about 10 minutes thrice daily is not too bad.
- If you crave for healthy foods like vegetables, you can give in to the cravings. After all, you have a lot of quality nutrients to gain.
- If you find out that your cravings are unhealthy and are getting a little too much, you can look for substitutes. For example, for those with a sweet tooth, you can make a pure cocoa drink sweetened with stevia or other low-calorie sweeteners in place of sugary chocolates. Natural fruit juice is a better option to sweetened fruit juice.
- Try to engage in other physical or mental activities that can take your attention away from the cravings like reading, watching movies, singing, dancing and so on.
- If you have extremely abnormal and unhealthy cravings like cravings for soap, dirt, or other non-edible items, you should see a doctor. These kinds of abnormal cravings medically called pica can be very dangerous as you may end up poisoning yourself or your baby.