Return To Main Guide
|When Do Pregnancy Cravings Start?
Most pregnant women experience cravings for certain foods during pregnancy, although an aversion to foods is also just as likely. Most cravings start in the first trimester of pregnancy, probably because this is when the first flood of hormones hit the blood stream. In fact, you can experience food cravings within a week of conception, making it one of the tell-tale early signs of pregnancy. Cravings are normally nothing to worry about unless they for non-food items such as dirt, chalk or soap (a condition known as Pica). For obvious reasons, Pica cravings should not be indulged! Most cravings usually disappear or subside by the 4th month or middle of the second trimester of pregnancy. If you continue to experience strong cravings into the third trimester, it is more likely to be comfort eating rather than a physical need.
It is considered that pregnancy cravings are related to a lack of certain nutrients. For example, a craving for cheese means your body needs extra calcium and a craving for fruit signals a need for vitamin C. Taste preferences change throughout pregnancy, so what a woman craves in the first trimester may be completely different by the second trimester. Towards the middle of pregnancy, sweet and sour cravings (for example fruit and pickles) are more common. If you crave salt, this may be linked to increased blood volumes rushing through your body towards the baby, and the requirement for extra sodium.
The only issue with this theory is that it can lead to unhealthy behavior. Consider that our food chain has changed completely since prehistoric times. As a cave woman, a sweet craving may have sent us into the bushes to gather berries. Today, we are more likely to pop to the nearest store and buy several bars of candy. So although our body and hormones may be pushing us in a certain direction, we often choose to 'misread' the signs. Using pregnancy as an excuse to indulge in unhealthy eating is worth avoiding. Listen to your cravings, but try to choose healthy options instead of junk. For more on caring for your baby, check out the prenatal care guide.
Also check pregnancy symptoms for a complete list of common physical problems associated with the 3 trimesters.
Spicy, Pickled Foods, Olives, Gherkins
Avoid using pregnancy as an excuse to binge on chocolate, cake, chips and processed baked goods. In limitation, they are fine, and may even be necessary for your sanity - just exercise moderation. Yet there are some foods which, no matter how strong your craving, you should avoid. These include:
Suddenly craving the dirt on top of those potatoes? Or is that bar of soap looking suspiciously tasty? Are you going mad, or are you really craving weird stuff? The phenomenon of craving strange non-food items is not uncommon during pregnancy, so you are certainly not alone. Pregnant women have been known to crave items such as chalk, clay, ashes, baking soda, toothpaste, plaster, diesel, cigarette butts, paint chips even coal and metal. This is a known condition called Pica. It is considered a medical disorder, but not one to worry about. The important thing is obviously, not to indulge the craving. That way no harm will be done to either you or the baby. If you think you may have Pica, tell your doctor during your prenatal visits, they may check your iron levels. Although scientists do not know the cause of Pica, it is suspected that iron deficiency may be partly responsible.
There is a persistent oldwife tale that certain food cravings can indicate the gender of a baby. If you are craving protein foods like red meat and cheese, or sour foods like raw lemon, supposedly you are expecting a boy. If you crave sweet things like fruit and orange juice, your bundle of joy will be a girl. Safe to say, that pregnancy ultrasound scans are likely to be more accurate!
|Related Articles on Pregnancy Problems
For more on treatments for other conditions, see the following:
Return to Homepage: Womens Health Advice