Cravings are just another one of the joys of pregnancy. They can be weird and wonderful, or just plain weird. Up to 60% of pregnant women say that they experience a change in their taste buds during the nine months, which happens simultaneously as food aversions (when the foods you loved suddenly make you ill).
Related: TED Baby
But have you ever wondered what these cravings are all about and what they mean? It turns out there may be a good reason. The most prominent theory is that the cravings signal some vitamin or nutrient lacking in the body. It’s an interesting thought that the body can trigger longings for what it needs at such a crucial time.
Another reason for weird pregnancy cravings may have to do with hormonal changes. Imbalances happen because the body is accommodating and prioritizing the growing baby.
Cravings may also occur because of many women’s heightened sense of smell or taste.
Weird Pregnancy Cravings
Unusual or weird pregnancy cravings often mean that you might be deficient in a vitamin or mineral. The most common cravings pregnant mothers find weird are called “Pica.” Pica is the practice of craving substances with little or no nutritional value like dirt or chalk.
Non-Foods (Pica Cravings)
The cause of Pica Cravings is still unknown, but some experts believe it may be a mixture of cultural, psychological, and biochemical factors.
The most prominent theory is that the cravings are to satisfy one of the following:
- Iron deficiency
- Psychological response to stress
- Cultural reasons connected to beliefs
- Relief for nausea
- Satisfy hunger when food is scarce
- Fulfill nutrient deficiencies when food isn’t available
- Coping strategies
It’s important to not satisfy any pica cravings. They can lead to other health issues, even toxicity or blood poisoning. Get help if the cravings become too strong. Your doctor, midwife, or another health professional may be able to help.
When Do Weird Pregnancy Cravings Begin & Why
Cravings begin during the first trimester when a woman’s body experiences the first wave of hormonal changes. Since the cravings generally disappear around the fourth month, any residual cravings may be for comfort rather than nutrient deficiency.
Common Cravings and Their Possible Meanings
Here are some of the most common cravings pregnant women experience, along with possible meanings.
Related: Baby Allergies
Intense cravings for pickles (and the like) are not only the most common but the most iconic food craving during pregnancy. Experts believe that this craving may be indicative of a sodium deficiency. During pregnancy, a woman’s blood volume increases significantly, so her body will require more sodium. So your craving for pickles, potato chips, or other salty favorites maybe your body’s cry for more sodium. Answer the call, but try not to go overboard. Too much sodium during pregnancy can raise your blood pressure, leading to related issues.
Another reason for salty cravings is dehydration. So remember to drink plenty of water throughout your pregnancy.
Chocolate cravings may have a two-fold meaning. Chocolate has serotonin-producing properties, which lead to endorphin-release in the brain. In other words, chocolate is a feel-good treat. While pregnancy is a magical time, it can have its low points. You may crave chocolate as a means of naturally lifting your mood. This might be why many women crave chocolate during their period.
Just keep in mind that chocolate is also high in sugar, fat, and calories. In small doses, it’s terrific. So think in terms of adding small quantities to your healthier treats and enjoy the benefits.
Related: Elimination Diet
Another of the most popular food cravings during pregnancy is for spicy foods. This can be especially troubling if you have never cared for spicy foods before. Curries, peppers, and hot wings can all make you sweat, which will bring down your body temperature. This might be your craving if you feel hot no matter what the temperature outside is. Perhaps you crave spicy foods to induce sweating, which will eventually cool you down.
You may crave spicy foods because your taste buds have changed, and you can’t really taste or enjoy mildly flavored foods – even if these were your favorites pre-pregnancy. If that’s the case, relish your new appreciation for international foods.
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Cravings for ice cream and other dairy items are common during pregnancy. If you can’t get enough cheese, milk, or other dairy foods, you may have a calcium deficiency. We all know how essential calcium is to our bone health, but it’s even more crucial during pregnancy for the growing baby. The developing baby can’t be without sufficient calcium to form strong bones and teeth.
If you find yourself with the opposite of a craving, an aversion to dairy foods, look for other ways to get the calcium you need. Green leafy veggies, fortified plant milks, and tofu may provide you with the calcium you need.
But if you just want a cool treat, ice cream, fruit sorbet, or low-fat frozen yogurt are excellent choices.
This is an interesting craving. It seems to be common among expectant moms who are anemic. The increased blood volume creates a demand for more iron, but the body cannot keep up with the red blood cell production. This is why so many women develop anemia during pregnancy.
You may ask, ‘what’s crewing on ice got to do with an iron deficiency?’ We’re not sure, but they’re connected. So if you feel the need to chew or suck on ice, ask your doctor for a simple blood test to check. If you’re anemic, you can take an iron supplement or up your consumption of fish, eggs, chicken, nuts, and vegetables.
Lemons can help neutralize a bad taste in your mouth due to a change in taste buds. They can also remedy the nausea that can accompany pregnancy. If you’re craving lemons, try to put them in your water to keep hydrated. If you want to eat the fruit whole, be moderate. The acid can erode the enamel on your teeth, which can lead to dental issues.
If you’re an expectant mother who has an iron or protein deficiency, you may experience cravings for red meat. Remember that too much red meat may increase the risks of heart disease. So choose lean cuts and eat in moderation.
Final Thoughts on Weird Pregnancy Cravings
Pregnancy is a beautiful time for a woman. Enjoy every minute of it, even the weird food cravings. Just keep in mind, you may need to exercise moderation with some of them. The upside is that you can savor foods that you usually don’t, so make it an enriching, albeit temporary, experience.Are you ready to tap your full potential in health and relationships? Work one-on-one with us. Contact Ray of Solace today!