Food cravings are something that almost every pregnant woman will experience. From takeaways to sweets to dairy products, there will always be something that they need to satisfy a sudden urge.
There are many questions about this topic, such as what causes pregnancy cravings, how can you control them, and when do pregnancy cravings start? All of which will be revealed right here, so if you’re experiencing any pregnancy food cravings or know someone who is and wants to get the low-down, carry on reading!
What Causes Pregnancy Cravings?
This is one of the most commonly asked pregnancy questions.
Most experts agree that food cravings are due to evolutionary circumstances, so your body starts sending signals to your brain and taste buds to satisfy your developing nutritional needs. For yourself, and for your baby.
This is a result of rapidly changing hormones during pregnancy, as your body is working extra hard to produce more blood and nutrients. It's also important to note that pregnancy can cause a heightened sense of smell, meaning you may be more inclined to craving different foods.
Or, it could simply be because certain foods make you feel more comfortable as your body is changing! It is called comfort food, after all...
When Do Pregnancy Cravings Start?
For the majority of women, pregnancy cravings begin in the first trimester (0-13 weeks), peak during the second trimester (13-26 weeks) and start to decline throughout their third trimester (28-40 weeks).
Cravings tend to subside after pregnancy, so there's no need to be worried about your cravings being a permanent thing.
Food Aversions in Pregnancy
Food aversions can be just as apparent as food cravings. Food aversion is a form of appetite change that results in the intense dislike of a specific food or food smell.
Both food cravings and food aversions tend to start around the same time in pregnancy.
The most common food aversion that is avoided by women during pregnancy is meat, as the sight, smell and texture can be too much to handle.
Researchers state that this is because meat can carry bacteria that is capable of making the mother and/or baby sick. As a way of protection, the body makes meat seem unappetising.
What Are The Most Common Pregnancy Cravings?
Many pregnancy cravings have a personal touch involved, whether it’s food that was eaten as a child or something you tried once and loved.
Some, however, are straight up bizarre but are commonly accepted among most pregnant women.
The most commonly pregnancy craving foods include:
- Greasy takeaways, such as Chinese or pizza
- Cream cheese with ketchup
How Do I Reduce Pregnancy Cravings?
It's important to note that pregnancy cravings are completely natural. It's your body signalling that it needs a bit of extra sustenance to keep you and your baby healthy!
If you're conscious about weight gain, pregnancy cravings can easily become a source of anxiety. If you'd like to reduce your pregnancy cravings, we suggest the following:
- Prioritise rest. Research shows that people who lack sufficient sleep tend to crave unhealthy foods more than healthy foods.
- Don’t food shop when hungry.
- Eat at regular intervals to prevent feelings of hunger.
When to Seek Help For Pregnancy Cravings
Some pregnancy cravings can be dangerous and must be avoided at all costs. If and when these occur, the best thing to do is to visit a doctor to receive professional advice.
Pica is a potentially poisonous condition for pregnant women, that urges them to compulsively eat foods with no nutritional value such as soap, dirt or dry paint. Cravings such as these, along with alcohol and drugs can cause danger and harm to both yourself and your baby.
If you have any questions regarding your pregnancy cravings or want to find out more information in relation to your pregnancy, please contact a professional as soon as possible.
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