Cravings are the excessive urge to eat common foods such as chocolate cake, ice cream, dairy products and other sweet foods after getting pregnant. After the second trimester, pregnant women crave more to eat unusual food combinations, or food type that they normally don’t prefer.
Why do cravings happen?
There seems to be no scientific conclusion on this yet. However, recent studies on cravings indicate that the lack of healthy diet and an increased need for certain vitamins & minerals in the body could be the possible reasons behind it.
In addition to food cravings during pregnancy, another logical reason is that women develop a sudden dislike for some but not all strong-tasting foods.
Studies emphasize on the fact that food cravings and sudden food aversion may have a connection with the effects of pregnancy hormones. Due to this, pregnant women taste and smell some foods differently and develop cravings.
How to deal with cravings?
It’s fine if you give in to the occasional food cravings, as you long as you are on a healthy pregnancy diet. However, try not to overindulge if you are craving for a lot of unhealthy and common food such as sweets or chocolates. Intake of sugar can cause dental problems and excessive weight gain.
Tips to tackle unhealthy cravings:
You can easily prevent the sudden feeling of hunger by regularly eating healthy meals. Keep a stock of healthy snacks in your pantry for nibbling in between meals. Resist going grocery shopping when feeling hungry. Most importantly, eat healthy, low glycemic index (GI) foods to keep you full for longer. Such food types include unsweetened rolled oats (porridge), cracker biscuits, wholegrain bread, baked beans and fresh fruits.
Foods to stay away from:
There are a number of foods that pregnant women should completely stay away from. Foods like soft cheese, sushi, undercooked meat and raw eggs contain harmful bacteria, including E.coli and salmonella. During pregnancy, ingesting such foods can lead you to severe illnesses such as Toxoplasmosis and Listeria.
It may surprise you, but some pregnant women develop cravings to eat substances such as chalks, clay, laundry soap or starch. This condition is called Pica that may indicate severe anemia or a mineral deficiency. Consult your doctor, midwife or nurse if you have developed cravings for substances that are not food.
If you have developed cravings and want french fries for every meal, be sure to pay heed to how much you’re munching on. Most doctors say that occasionally giving into high-fat, high-salt and high-carbohydrate cravings won’t cause you any harm.
However, having an unhealthy diet that is high in sugar, salt and chemicals can lead you to excessive weight gain, gestational diabetes, and other harmful problems that can last beyond the birth.