Pregnancy food cravings are a commonly experienced symptom of pregnancy.
While some women crave salt, others long for sweets; yet others salivate at the sight or smell of pickles!
If Halle Berry famously craved pickles and foot massages during her pregnancy and supermodel Heidi Klum wanted ice-cream, then Angelina Jolie wanted dark chocolate bars with cinnamon and Mexican chili and Nicole Ritchie apparently had all her pregnancy food cravings in the middle of the night!
What causes the cravings? It is thought by scientists that some pregnancy food cravings could be due to hormonal factors while others could be due to actual nutritional requirements.
Women require more number of calories to be consumed when pregnant and in the event it is likely that they may be attracted to calorie laden items such as cakes, sweets, fried food etc. So if a woman has a high sodium requirement she may crave salted snacks such as chips and pizzas etc.
What causes the aversions? On the flip side of the coin are pregnancy food aversions. Certain bitter foods taste even bitterer and a pregnant woman may develop an aversion.
Some favorites may become unpalatable; even cause her to become nauseous. This may be the body’s protective mechanism kicking in.
For instance, a woman who usually enjoys her drink may find she is averse to beer, wine etc when pregnant. This may be the body’s instinctive way of avoiding any damage to the growing fetus.
There is also the fact that a woman’s sense of smell and taste are altered during her pregnancy. Owning to this, she may develop these pregnancy food cravings as well as aversions.
What is Pica?
This is a rather unusual condition that pregnant women experience during pregnancy, when they have the craving for strange and inedible stuff, such as paper, chalk, soap, wood, dirt, clay paint chips, toothpaste, broken crockery, cigarette butts, baking soda, laundry starch etc. This is a potentially serious condition and can be toxic or even fatal in very rare cases.
Even the more common or garden varieties of pregnancy food cravings, such as fried and/spicy food that so many of us probably experience, may not be a good idea to give in to.
It is important to eat health and nutritious food when pregnant, which imparts nutrients to the mother and her unborn baby’s development. This is not necessarily high calorie food, which may actually end up being unnecessarily accumulated in the body as fat and may be very difficult to dislodge when the baby arrives, also fried food may be more difficult to digest, causing problems such as heartburn.
Acid reflux is another problem that pregnant women face and in the event limiting spicy foods or pickles is a good idea, lest they add to and compound the problem. Rule of thumb should be, Indulge the craving, so long as it is healthy for you and baby.