Most of us have heard stories about pregnant women craving strange combinations of foods like pickles and ice cream, however, most of us chalk these cravings up to an old wive’s tale. However, if you have ever been pregnant, you may have experienced some type of craving yourself. The reality is that approximately 1/2 of all pregnant women report at lease one food craving during pregnancy.
Perhaps you could not get enough pizza during your pregnancy. Or, maybe you craved sweets like chocolate and ice cream. It is also possible that you experienced some food aversions during pregnancy. Many women report experiencing aversions to foods like chicken and eggs that they enjoyed prior to their pregnancies. So, what do pregnancy cravings and aversions mean?
While the cause of pregnancy food cravings and aversions is not completely understood, there are many theories. Some believe that hormones are to blame. They believe that the hormonal changes experienced during pregnancy can trigger cravings for certain foods. However, some nutritionists believe that our food cravings during pregnancy may be trying to tell us something. They feel that these cravings may be caused by certain nutritional deficiencies in the body. For instance, a women with an iron deficiency may crave foods that are rich in iron like red meat and spinach. A women with a vitamin C deficiency may crave citrus fruits and other foods that have a large concentration of vitamin C.
Clearly, more research is needed to figure out what is behind pregnancy cravings. However, the important thing to remember is to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet during pregnancy. Don’t let your cravings cause you to exclude other foods that may contain important vitamins, minerals and nutrients you need to help your baby thrive. If you have questions on what to eat or what to avoid during pregnancy, talk to your OBGYN today.