Everyone has cravings once in a while but pregnant women seem to have it worse than anyone. It is already known that pregnancy causes one to crave for weird food, food that you didn’t like before, or even things that are not edible. But the questions is why? Why do pregnant women have such cravings?
Development of cravings
Pregnancy seems to have its own class of special cravings and it usually develops during the first trimester and peaks during the second trimester before diminishing by the final trimester. Pregnant women tend to find themselves craving for the weirdest and most unexpected food combinations.
Food combinations that would usually sound disgusting to normal women might turn out to be craved by pregnant women. For example, tuna with peach yoghurt or cheeseburgers with chocolate. Besides that, you might also develop food aversions where you begin disliking food that you used to love before the pregnancy.
It is understood that this is caused by a substance named Neuropeptide Y (NPY) which increases appetite and hormones like ghrelin which alters your sense of taste and smell, causing the change in your preference for certain food. This explains the increase in such strange cravings during pregnancy.
Managing unhealthy cravings
It is alright to give in to your cravings occasionally as long as you keep eating healthy food. You shouldn’t over-indulge when craving for unhealthy food as it can lead to issues like excessive weight gain and dental problems.
In order to keep your diet in check, eat regular healthy meals to ensure you’re full enough. It is good to be stocked with healthy snacks instead of unhealthy ones. Try not to go shopping when you’re hungry, you’ll only end up buying everything you crave.
Sleep is essential as research has shown that sleep deprivation causes the craving for junk food. So make sure you get lots of sleep and consume more healthy food. It’s best to get advice from your doctor for information on healthy diets for pregnant women.
Food to avoid
There are several types of food that pregnant women should avoid to ensure the safety and health of you and your baby. Keep your cravings safe by avoiding raw or undercooked food such as sushi and unpasteurised milk products like feta cheese.
These food can contain harmful bacteria like salmonella and E. coli which can lead to some harmful illnesses. For example, listeria and toxoplasmosis. These illnesses can harm your baby so it would be best to avoid these food throughout your pregnancy.
Aside from food, pregnant women should not drink any alcohol at all. Not drinking alcohol would be the safest decision in order to not harm your unborn baby.
Other than the craving for weird food, some pregnant women tend to even crave for things that are not edible such as clay, chalk, soap, wax, coffee grounds or laundry starch. This condition is known as pica.
However, you should never give in to cravings like this as it could be very harmful to you and your baby. If you find yourself with this condition, consult your doctor about it to ensure you get the real food nutrition that you and your baby need.
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