Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cravings During Pregnancy

Craving for ice cubes?
I did not have any craving during my pregnancy with Jordan. I could eat very well after the 1st Trimester. However, for this second pregnancy (or rather third because I had a miscarriage before Jordan), I still feel like vomiting at night and I am approaching the end of the 4th month. I long for ice cubes when I’m home. It’s very easy to satisfy – easily available any time. Is it craving? I don’t take a lot of ice cubes. I just want the vomiting feeling to go away. Seng Chor is probably thankful that I don’t ask him to drive out in the middle of night to buy food.

Since I’m eager to find out more about cravings, I did a search on the web and I learned something about cravings during pregnancy. Below are some of the points that I’ve compiled…

What are pregnancy cravings?
Food cravings are powerful urges (unquenchable longings) to eat particular cuisine or unusual food product that you may not have previously desired or dream of eating. The most commonly reported cravings are for sweets and dairy products, sour fruits and spicy foods.

What do cravings mean?
There are many reasons that women experience food cravings during pregnancy. Perhaps the simplest explanation is your body is working twenty four hours a day seven days a week to grow a healthy baby. Some cravings are simply the result of your body's needs for additional calories during pregnancy.

Other cravings may signal nutritional deficiencies. Some women for example, even vegetarians, might experience unusual cravings for steak and red meat during pregnancy. This could simply be a sign that their bodies need more iron to help support their growing baby. Many women will crave food they will loath or wouldn't dream of touching when not pregnant. A desire for salty foods -- such as pickles -- may indicate a need for more sodium as blood volume and body tissues are increasing.

Many women describe their pregnancy cravings as overpowering. While scientists haven't yet established why cravings are so strong among pregnant women, they certainly acknowledge that food cravings during pregnancy are the norm rather than the exception to the rule.


Where do cravings come from?
The extreme hormonal changes women go through during pregnancy can have a powerful impact on taste and smell. (This would help explain why women going through menopause can also experience strong food cravings and aversions.) But the bottom line is that no one really knows for sure. Some experts are skeptical that food cravings can be attributed simply to hormones.

What types of cravings are unhealthy?
A more serious type of craving, called pica, in which women crave nonfood items, like dirt, laundry starch, toothpaste, clay, cigarette buds, can be dangerous and even fatal. Several theories have been proposed as to what causes pica, from a deficiency of calcium or iron, to the ability of certain nonfood items to quell nausea and vomiting. However, there has never been any medical reason determined. Needless to say, cravings of this nature are not to be indulged.


Ways to curb unhealthy cravings?
In the end, experts consulted agreed that you should pay attention to your pregnancy cravings -- but not necessarily give in to them. Usually a healthy diet can meet all our nutritional needs but some experts think food also satisfies an emotional need. If we are not feeling emotionally fulfilled, maybe we need a hug rather than a hamburger.

Eat breakfast every day (skipping breakfast can make cravings worse), get plenty of exercise and make sure you have a wide ranging and healthy diet.


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