What Do Your Pregnancy Food Cravings Mean?
26th September, 2018
Many pregnant women find themselves feeling a sudden intense urge to eat a particular food, known as a craving. While cravings can be for foods that you normally enjoy, such as cake or ice cream, some women experience cravings for more unusual foods, strange food combinations, or even foods that you previously didn’t enjoy.
What causes cravings?
While some people theorise that cravings are the body telling you which nutrients your body needs, that it is currently missing out on in your diet, there is no conclusive link between craving and deficiency. Cravings tend to be at their strongest in pregnancy during the first and second trimesters.
Some experts instead believe that these cravings are created by the rush of hormones that are now changing in the body of a pregnant woman. Hormonal fluctuations, such as the changing estrogen and progesterone levels that occur during pregnancy, can also intensify a person’s ability to taste and smell, which may contribute to feeling enhanced cravings!
What are the most common food cravings and what do they mean?
While having a craving for salty food may simply mean that you aren’t getting enough sodium in your diet, feeling the need for salt during pregnancy is very common. Women who are pregnant will have an increased blood volume; therefore, the normal amount of salt for your body may no longer be enough. You may be needing salt if you crave things like chips, nuts, sauces, popcorn, pickles or other typically salty or savoury food items.
Many people have cravings for sweet things regardless of whether or not they are pregnant, so, unsurprisingly, having intense cravings for sweet treats like chocolate, ice cream and doughnuts is very common for expectant mothers. It’s not just because chocolate is yummy though! Pregnancy often causes low blood sugar, so your body may crave sweets to help regulate the changes in your blood sugar levels. The same can be true if you feel a craving for fruit, which can provide a healthier relief for these feelings.
Craving spicy food is also common during pregnancy. From curries to hot wings, spicy dishes are thought to be craved for a number of reasons. Firstly, feeling the need for spicy food may be because hot foods can make the body sweat, which helps to cool it down. Pregnant women often feel far warmer than normal, so needing something to help them cool off is understandable! Other women, however, will achieve this cooling effect by eating ice, which seems a little more reasonable! The desire for spicy food may also indicate that the immune system is weak.
Some women will turn to eating lemons straight when they are pregnant, or at the least, squirting a hefty amount of juice into their drink. Sour foods seem more appealing when expecting, and this may be down to changes in your taste buds, and the need to experience a stronger taste. It may also simply indicate that your body needs some extra vitamins, and citric foods contain plenty of nutrients.
What are the weirdest food cravings women have had?
The category of ‘weird food cravings’ is seemingly endless when you are pregnant. For the most part, the strangeness occurs when women start craving bizarre food combinations, such as sardines and blueberries! Online, women have shared some of the peculiar dishes they created whilst pregnant, and these include topping ice cream with pulled pork, covering ring doughnuts with squirty cheese, and pouring thick meat gravy over strawberries! A mother-to-be craving salt may find themselves putting together a sandwich filled with crisps, pickles and peanut butter, as in the picture above!
Should you give in to food cravings?
As long as you maintain a healthy balanced diet, it is ok to indulge in the occasional craving. However, if you are craving something a little unhealthy, such as chocolate or a bowl of sweeties, then you will need to try and ignore some of your cravings, or at least try and cut back!
It also depends on whether your craving is safe to consume while pregnant, as there are a number of ingredients and dishes which are considered harmful for expectant mothers. This predominantly involves undercooked or underprocessed foods, such as raw egg, undercooked meat, soft cheese and sushi.
As the Old Wive’s tale goes, craving salty, sour or spicy foods during your pregnancy indicates that you are expecting a boy, whereas if you’re after sugary snacks or dairy products, a daughter is on the way! Whether or not this proves true for you, when your little one arrives, be ready to commemorate the occasion, and create a beautiful memory of how tiny they are, with a stunning baby hand and foot casting from Image Casting. If you would like to find out more about the intricate casts we lovingly create, please do not hesitate to get in touch!