Pregnancy Cravings
Common Food Cravings And Pica in Pregnant Women

Craving crazy foods while pregnant


Pregnancy Cravings


When Do Pregnancy Cravings Start?
What Do They Mean?
Common Food Cravings
What Foods Should I Avoid?
Craving Weird Things In Pregnancy
Boy Or Girl?

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Pregnancy Symptom 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.

What Do They Mean?

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.

Common Cravings & What They Mean

Also check pregnancy symptoms for a complete list of common physical problems associated with the 3 trimesters.

Spicy, Pickled Foods, Olives, Gherkins
Your body may be craving salt to balance excess sugar in the bloodstream. Nibbling on pickled foods can help women who suffer from strange taste changes (metallic taste in mouth).

Your body may be craving pectin, calcium, potassium, magnesium and/or phosphorous. More common in women with a high fat diet, as pectin helps lower cholesterol.

You could be craving either vitamin C, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, biotin and/or inositol.

Craving Vitamin A and/or potassium.

You may be craving calcium, aluminum, phosphorus (also gained by eating green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach). A glass of milk is another good source of these nutrients. Many women who suffer from morning sickness may however find dairy difficult to ingest for a few weeks.

Craving: Protein, amino acids, selenium and/or sulphur. Eggs also contain fat-burning choline.

Peanut Butter
You may need more B-vitamins.

Ice Cubes
Considered an indication of lack of iron.

What Foods Should I Avoid?

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:

• Alcohol.
• Unwashed fruit and vegetables.
• Mould-ripened soft cheeses including brie, feta, camembert, roquefort and Mexican-style cheeses.
• Cheese with blue veins. Cheese can also cause constipation in pregnancy.
• Raw and lightly cooked seafood (including sushi), shellfish, eggs and meat
• Herbal teas.
• Un-pasteurized milk or dairy products.
• Deep sea fish, which contains mercury, including swordfish, shark and marlin.
• Peanuts, if you have a family history of allergic reactions. Although you may not be allergic, your baby could be.

See also pregnancy tips for more advice on the do's and don'ts as well as taking aspirin during pregnancy. If you are looking for guides, check out books on pregnancy for a list.

Craving Weird Things In Pregnancy

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.

Boy Or Girl?

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:

Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy: What's happening to your body.
Dizziness While Pregnant: Causes and treatment.
Pregnancy Varicose Veins and PUPPs Rash: Signs and treatment.

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