Pregnancy cravings can range from the normal to the seemingly absurd! Some women crave for something piquant such as tamarind or spicy foods whereas, others want to gorge on sugary items such as ice creams, sweets or pastries with strawberries and whipped cream. Normally, the idea of binging on foods like this may sound nauseating to us, but when pregnancy cravings start, there is no way to say exactly what weird combinations will satisfy you.
During pregnancy, the body starts craving almost anything and everything. You start wanting to eat even those things that you never thought you would eat! Pregnancy cravings start in the early phases in the majority of women. Fortunately, pregnancy cravings are perfectly normal, and your peculiar food habits will not be misunderstood at all. This article will guide you through the reasons behind pregnancy food cravings and how safe it is to indulge in them.
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What Exactly Are These Pregnancy Cravings?
Pregnancy cravings refer to the intense urge of a pregnant woman to consume odd combinations of food, or things that she has never wanted to eat before. These pregnancy food cravings start about two weeks into the pregnancy- cravings at 3 weeks pregnancy is the most common.
About 50 to 90 percent of women experience a specific type of food craving during their pregnancy. However, there is no definite medical explanation as to why pregnant women get the urge to try specific texture and flavour combinations. The most common and accepted reason is hormonal changes in the body. You may also find comfort in the way certain food habits affect your changing body.
Pregnancy cravings may also result from malnutrition. Cravings can be a way of your body telling you that it lacks certain nutrients. If you crave unusually salty foods during pregnancy, it can be a sign that your body has low levels of sodium. This is why it becomes important for you to take prenatal vitamins during your pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins are important because, during pregnancy, you may not be following a completely balanced diet filled with all the essential nutrients that your body needs. Prenatal vitamins can provide for this lack, and thus save you from suffering from a serious bout of malnutrition.
Also, you might be an original stress eater. This means that the stress of pregnancy is simply adding to your eating needs. Some days are more stressful than others during pregnancy, which explains why these cravings seem to come and go.
What Stage Of Pregnancy Do Cravings Start?
Most women report of experiencing pregnancy cravings in the first trimester only. So, you can expect your food craving symptoms to start setting in within the first two to three weeks of pregnancy. The cravings will gain momentum as time progresses- they will get increasingly more peculiar and powerful- before finally dying down in your third trimester.
Along with pregnancy food cravings, you can also begin experiencing food aversions. Food aversions are the exact opposite of food cravings, where you feel nauseated at the thought of consuming a particular food product. The texture and smell of certain food being cooked may be problematic for certain pregnant women. Like the cravings, these aversions to start setting in during the first two weeks of pregnancy.
What Are The Most Common Pregnancy Cravings?
More often than not, pregnant women crave things that do not really harm the body. In fact, the cravings are mostly funny. Here is a pregnancy cravings list containing the most commonly craved food products:
‣ Sweet stuff, such as ice cream and candy
‣ Dairy products like cheese and sour milk
‣ Starchy carbohydrates
In fact, these cravings are so widespread, that some cookbooks contain recipes specially designed to satiate these pregnancy food cravings. Some women were also reported to be craving salt in their pregnancy.
NO Cravings? NO Fear!
Yeah, that's true. Some women actually spend their entire pregnancy without experiencing any abnormal cravings at all. It is not necessary for all pregnant women to go through this period. While we see 50 to 90 percent of pregnant women craving for food, anywhere between 10 to 50 percent of women do deliver perfectly healthy babies without experiencing any cravings at all.
This is especially true for women who experience intense morning sickness throughout their pregnancy. Intense morning sickness periods actually lead to more food aversions than food cravings.
Is there a need to see a doctor because of the cravings?
Not necessarily, as long as you are craving edible food. However, some cravings can actually be dangerous, which is a clear sign that you should be consulting a doctor about them. In fact, some pregnant women start craving dirt, soap, and other inedible items during pregnancy. In most of these cases, the pregnant woman may develop pica, which is a potentially dangerous and poisonous health condition.
Pregnant women rarely crave drugs and alcohol during their pregnancy, but if you do, then you should probably see a doctor about it. if you indulge in cravings of this sort, you would be putting both yourself and your child in way too much danger. It is important for you to talk to your doctor and devise a plan to keep you and your child safe.
Doctors will also be able to recommend any supplementation that you might require to ward off these dangerous pregnancy food cravings. They will also be able to guide you through the best practices to ensure your safety and the welfare of the tiny human inside you.
Do The Pregnancy Cravings Stop After Delivery?
Rarely, women carry on their pregnancy cravings to the postpartum world. The cravings start dying out in the third trimester itself and then stop completely after the baby has been delivered.
What should you do about them?
While you can't entirely stop your pregnancy cravings, there are certain ways in which you can keep a check on them:
‣ Try to control yourself. While giving in to cravings is fine, they will add to a lot of extra weight gain, and that can be a pain to deal with after you give birth.
‣ Try to keep your mind away from food! Keeping yourself busy with other things and hobbies will help you control your urge to keep gorging on food at all times.
‣ Eat small meals at infrequent times. This will keep you feeling full at most times, thus keeping those pesky pregnancy food cravings at bay. It will also help you combat all the digestion related problems that come as part and parcel of pregnancy.
Pregnancy cravings are not necessarily a bad thing. You can eat all the French fries you want, provided you keep an eye on your daily calorie intake. Since most cravings last for a short time only, eating high fat and high carbohydrate food products is not necessarily harmful to you.