Before I even knew I was pregnant I would hard-core crave Cesar salad and fried calamari. I wanted to eat them together… all. the. time. I wanted it so badly I thought my world would end if I didn’t get it… and that is when I took a positive pregnancy test. Go figure – intense cravings for food was my first indication of pregnancy. Well that, and the fact that every time I smelled booze I thought I was going to hurl.
Women everywhere have tried unusual combinations of food together… the classic pickles and ice cream, peanut butter and mayo sandwiches, grapes dipped in ranch dressing. I even read online that Jessica Simpson spread butter on her pop tarts to eat when she was pregnant. It is not uncommon to crave something savory and then something sweet or vice versa. I do that even when I’m not pregnant… although when I was, I admittedly ate Ben and Jerry’s Half-Baked with Fritos (sounds awful now that I’m thinking of it).
These are the facts: when you are pregnant your body has a major shift in hormones; some of those hormones, like leptin and Neuropeptide Y are associated with fat secretions and appetite. Scientifically, no one knows for sure that this is what causes the bizarre cravings, but many think it has something to do with it. Regardless, pregnancy is different for every woman and, therefore, know that you are not alone in your craving for pickles on your orders, or mustard with your steak.
Some health professionals feel that those intense cravings indicate your body is lacking in certain nutrients and the craving is its way of telling you to get it. For example, if you are desperate for a burger it’s probably because of an iron deficiency which you could satisfy with legumes (beans), spinach, and vitamin C so your body absorbs it. Or if you are craving a ton of salty snacks it’s because you are producing so much more blood.
Your cravings can and will change each trimester. Sometimes it’s your body’s way of saying, “feed me. I need more calories.” Ensure that you are getting enough calories to support you and your baby’s health, but don’t go overboard.
If you are craving non-food items like cigarette butts, cornstarch, or dirt, do not consume them. Consult your physician instead. It is likely you have a severe vitamin deficiency.
Know that there is a difference between a craving and being hungry. Cravings are mental and hunger is physical. It is not necessary to indulge yourself with every craving you have. Think of how healthy your craving is. My advice is to eat as healthy and well-balanced as you can including those healthy cravings (mines were watermelon and grapes), and indulge with one of your not-so-healthy cravings once or twice a week (and feel completely guilt-free when you do).
Pregnancy Cravings: When You Absolutely, Positively Have To Have It!
Moms-to-be often report the weirdest pregnancy cravings for food they wouldn’t normally eat. These can be contributed to hormone changes and nutrient deficiencies. As long as your body craves for food combinations, there is nothing to be afraid of. However, if the cravings involve chalk, cigarette butts or other non-food items, it is a good idea to report these mysterious food fantasies to the doctor ASAP because some cravings may even be harmful.
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