Weird pregnancy cravings: the source of thousands of jokes and many late-night trips to the grocery store. The most stereotypical pregnancy craving is pickles and ice cream, but pregnant women have reported craving just about any kind of food you can think of. Around half of pregnant women in the U.S. have at least one craving, which can be as standard as the pickles and ice cream cliché, or as strange as eggplant or Cheese Whiz sandwiches. Other foods become repulsive to moms-to-be—sometimes food they loved before pregnancy.
Why do pregnant women crave pickles and other kinds of food?
These cravings and aversions occur for a specific reason—the influx of hormones can cause both biological and neurobiological imbalances. Pregnancy hormones impact a woman’s senses of taste and smell, which can cause major shifts in what she wants to eat. Some scientists also believe that some food cravings can indicate a deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals. The bottom line though? It’s not totally clear why women have cravings and aversions during pregnancy.
Although many women give into their cravings with no problems, food cravings can become severe, causing problems during pregnancy. In these cases, neurocounseling can be effective for reducing or eliminating cravings.
Incorporate cravings into a pregnancy diet for healthy fetal development
Interestingly, some experts have noticed that cravings often change during different stages of pregnancy. For example, many women start becoming hypersensitive to bitterness during the first two trimesters—possibly to prevent the consumption of harmful substances during fetal development.
It’s important to incorporate cravings into a pregnancy diet, since they can be an indication of what the mother or baby needs for healthy development. The catch is that many of these cravings consist of junk food, which should be limited during pregnancy. Too much junk food won’t help the baby’s development, and may cause excess weight gain. Balancing unhealthy cravings with a healthy diet (and healthy cravings) is key for a healthy pregnancy.
Coming up with alternatives for unhealthy cravings is…