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Food Cravings

Food cravings during pregnancy are common and can be attributed to various factors, including hormonal changes, nutritional needs, and psychological factors. Here’s a closer look at why these cravings occur and what they might mean:

    1. Hormonal Changes: Pregnancy hormones, especially increased levels of estrogen and progesterone, can heighten the senses of taste and smell, leading to strong cravings or aversions to certain foods.
    2. Nutritional Needs: The body’s increased nutritional requirements during pregnancy might lead to cravings for specific nutrients. For example, a craving for red meat might indicate a need for more iron.
    3. Psychological Factors: Emotional changes and stress can trigger cravings as a way of seeking comfort or alleviating anxiety.
    4. Cultural and Social Influences: Cultural norms and personal experiences can also play a role in shaping specific food cravings during pregnancy.

Common Cravings

Some of the most common cravings reported by Pregnant women include:

    • Sweet foods: Such as chocolate, ice cream, and candies.
    • Salty foods: Like chips, pickles, and pretzels.
    • Spicy foods: Hot curries, hot peppers and spicy sauces.
    • Sour foods: Such as limes, lemons and sour candies.

Unusual Cravings

Unusual pregnancy cravings, also known as Pica, involve cravings for non-food items or items with little to no nutritional value. They often can be linked to deficiencies in essential nutrients like Calcium, Iron or Zinc.  Other cravings can be linked to sensory needs ie. feeling of textures.  These cravings can be puzzling and sometimes of concern. Here are some examples and possible reasons behind these cravings:

Non-Food Items

    • Clay or Dirt – Craving known as Geophagia
    • Chalk – Due to its texture and taste
    • Laundry Starch – Craving for texture or flavor of starch
    • Ice – Can sometimes indicate Iron Deficiency – known as Pagophagia
    • Soap – An unusual craving that should be avoided as can be harmful
    • Metal – Craving for the Metallic Taste – Some women report even wanting to lick metal railings!!!

Non-Nutritive Food Substances

    • Raw Rice or Pasta – Craving uncooked grains
    • Cornstarch – In powdered form
    • Baking Soda – Some crave the texture and taste

Beware of the possible implications of these Unusual Cravings as can pose health risks such as Toxicity, Gastrointestinal Blockages & Problems.

Managing Cravings

While most cravings are harmless like everything it is best to manage them to ensure you have a balanced diet and not taking in too much acidity, sugar or salt which can lead to other unwanted symptoms in Pregnancy.

    1. Moderation: It’s okay to indulge in cravings occasionally, but moderation is key to maintaining a healthy diet.
    2. Healthy Alternatives: Find healthier substitutes for cravings, such as fruits instead of sugary snacks or whole-grain options instead of processed foods.
    3. Balanced Diet: Ensure your diet includes a variety of nutrients to help reduce intense cravings.
    4. Distractions: Find alternative activities or distractions to manage cravings and reduce the urge to consume non-food items.
    5. Consult a Health Provider:  They can check if you are showing deficiencies in any Essential Nutrients

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