14 Of The Most Common Pregnancy Cravings Finally Explained

So a woman finds out she is pregnant. She is overjoyed, over the moon, and wait for it, starving out of her freakin’ mind. That’s right. With pregnancy comes a whole lot of changes. A woman gains weight. A woman has sleep disruptions and then sleeps like a log. Finally, the woman has food aversions and cravings all at the same time. Some days she can barely look at food. Other days eating is all she can think about. What will her next meal be like? What will she eat? Yum...

Many of the cravings are pretty normal, like salty or sweet cravings, cravings for spicy foods, but some are downright weird. Think about the women who crave inedible objects of strange tastes, like vinegar. There is an honest to goodness answer to explain all of them believe it or not. Some of it is apparently thought to be due to minerals or nutrients that Mom-to-be is missing. Others could be due to different factors.

The important thing is for a woman to go regularly for her prenatal visits, monitor her sleep and food intake, and make sure she is in good health overall. Any questions she has, she could direct to her medical care practitioner. That will help determine if she is doing well and if baby will most likely do well. For the women who have always wanted to have their pregnancy cravings explained so that they could make sense of past ones or see about future ones, here are 15 pregnancy cravings finally explained:

14 Ice

Ice is one of those pregnancy cravings that a lot of women experience. It is usually due to her feeling dehydrated, and the fact that she can chew something crunchy and cold helps her with alertness and focusing the energy on getting through the day. For some women the bland taste also helps temporarily subdue queasiness they are feeling in pregnancy. The main reason for this craving in most cases, however, is due to anemia. It can greatly relieve inflammation of the mouth and tongue which are common symptoms of anemia in a body.

There is something so refreshing about it, that some pregnant women just can’t get enough. As long as she is being followed by her medical care professional, they will help her determine if she needs an additional supplement to stay healthy and have as healthy a pregnancy as possible. This will also help towards the birth going as smoothly as possible.

13 Chocolate

Many pregnant women crave chocolate. It could the extra sugar they are craving for energy, and also due to the fact it is a treat and women have to abstain from many other treats like drinking, that could also be a contributing factor. Some have argued that chocolate cravings mark a vitamin B6 deficiency and the body trying to regulate itself, while others just say that women are taking advantage to indulge as they are "eating for two” now. There is finally the camp that says if she is pregnant with a girl, she will be tempted to indulge in sweets. Whatever the reason, it is fun to do, and many women do not become any worse for wear.

Again, as long as they do not develop gestational diabetes or any other kind of sugar or glucose problems they need not be concerned. Going for regular prenatal checkups will ensure that all will continue to be well. There is also some  evidence that a small amount of chocolate may lower her risk of preeclampsia. It also depends on the kind of chocolate. As long as it is a small amount of caffeine from the chocolate, about 10 mg, that is alright. Keep in mind that dark chocolate contains more caffeine as it is stronger. That is why it is best to err on the side of caution.

12 Spicy Foods

Spicy foods is another common craving that a lot of pregnant women experience. It interestingly makes the body cool down if it is sweating or feeling overheated, a complaint that is common in a lot of pregnant women. For some as well, it relieves nausea and helps with digestion, particularly certain spices such as cumin and curry. This is a delicious and nutritious way to ease into pregnancy, and a lot of women swear to feeling better after having a bowl of chilli or another spicy dish, than eating something bland or without as much flavor.

The taste buds are also more awake and alert during pregnancy. This is all affected by hormones, so the woman’s cravings may even begin to change week to week, never mind month to month. Again, she will use common sense. As long as the food makes her feel better and not worse after ingesting it, she could continue to consume it. Eating spicy food which crosses into the amniotic fluid means baby will be eating it and then after they are born they may be more open to trying new foods when they start on solids. They may also be able to feed for longer times when at the breast.

11 Potato Chips

Wow. Salty and crunchy food to keep her taste buds grooving and her energy up. How could she go wrong? Well, she would have to make sure her body is not swelling and bloating up from too much salt. Interesting, a theory about why women crave salt during pregnancy is because the body needs to retain more water during pregnancy, and salt is one of the best vessels to enable this. But eating more salt means she also needs to take care to brush and floss so the gums and teeth stay healthy without too much plaque buildup.

As chips have a lot of added fat in them as well as some fun factor, going for eating a healthier form of chips is a good idea. Something that a lot of women enjoy are kale chips. They are crunchy, salty (though less than regular chips), and are sure to give a woman a delicious taste for her mouth and body. There are many other healthy chip alternatives both in regular grocery and health food stores. She need not be afraid to experiment after reading the labels to make sure that salt content is low.

10 Fruit

Granted fruits are a craving that not as many pregnant women claim to have, but surprisingly there are some women who do crave fruits. Whether it is for that extra vitamin C boost that their body probably needs, thirst which the water in the fruits could solve, or simply for the cool, and refreshing taste, many women enjoy indulging in fruits like melons, apples, and other summer-like fruit. Oranges are popular too sometimes, but for women who experience a lot of acidity they may not want to go in that direction.

Most doctors will be beyond thrilled if they see their patients eating these healthy and fresh products and will happily encourage it, as long as it is not in excess. That is not good for anyone at any time. She will be monitored to ensure Mom-to-be and baby are doing well with this kind of a diet. The answer will most likely be a resounding yes.

9 Lemon

Lemon is a popular food to be added to water or by itself. The logic goes that due to hormonal shifts, women like to shock or surprise their bodies with different taste sensations. Sour foods are particularly popular in the pregnant camp, so therein lies the logic of lemons being at the top of most pregnant women’s lists. It could also be a refreshing taste. Similar to orange peels, it could have a vigorous scent which wakes up the body and the mind. A pregnant woman needs that to make it through her day alert, happy, healthy and safe.

As long as the woman is happy, enjoying the foods and flavors and staying as healthy as she can on her new regime, that is the best she can do to take care of her health and that of her baby’s. If she is eating what makes her feel good, in most cases it is good for her and her baby.

8 Ice Cream

Ice cream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Who hasn’t grown up hearing that singsong rhyme? It is as true for the pregnant woman as for the rest of us. Lots of women crave ice cream as it is cool, creamy, and has lots of sugar and fat. If she is pregnant in the summer, even more of a bonus for loving that ice cream. As long as the rest of the diet is healthy and balanced, it should be fine. It is ok to indulge a bit - or she can switch over to frozen yogurt which has a lot less fat and sugar.

She also has to make sure she is not skipping meals every day or replacing meals with ice cream. She needs to make sure she is getting a balanced diet with other foods as well as the junk foods or processed ones. At her prenatal visits, she will see where she is, and her obstetrician or other medical care practitioner will help her fill in the nutrition gaps if there are any.

7 Soft Drinks

Who doesn’t like this? But after a while her body will not like the sugar rush and crash when her blood sugar levels drop and sugar wears off; it could be dangerous for baby and Mom to indulge in too much sugar. Now she is probably craving the extra sugar energy, but she needs to remember she could get sugar from better sources than soft drinks. She could look to fruits and vegetables, juices without added sugar, yogurt, or crackers.

Regardless, she must be careful of what she wants and needs and what her body would best benefit from at all times. An occasional indulgence in these high sugar drinks is fine, one a day (even then...), but more than that could be jeopardizing baby’s safety and her own farther into the pregnancy. Having some treats is fine as long as it is minimal and not endangering anyone. A mother to be has to weigh her odds with that.

6 Coffee

Ah coffee. The sweet elixir that wakes most of us up, pregnant or not. Yet a lot of pregnant women have the opposite problem. The smell of coffee makes them sick to their stomach, sends them vomiting, or else they drink a small cup and have heartburn. But some women continue to crave coffee throughout their pregnancies, likely because they were used to drinking it before pregnancy, and helps them get that mental boost and mental clarity to get through the day.

After many studies the results are still inconclusive as to caffeine's safety for pregnant woman. This is why The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) want to err on the safe side and advises less than 200 milligrams a day of coffee, the equivalent of 1 eleven ounce cup of coffee per day. There are also conflicting studies as to the safety of what happens when the caffeine crosses the placenta into baby's bloodstream. It takes baby's body much more time to metabolize the effects of the caffeine than the mother's.

5 Red Meat

Red meat cravings are also quite common. This is obviously a desire for more protein or a protein deficiency, like anemia. Generally women crave the nutrients that their bodies need to stay healthy for baby. Sometimes though, there is also the excitement of having something they normally would not indulge in. After all, once can have a low fat alternative to eating instead of raw meat which usually has a higher fat content. This is kind of like the "I will indulge a bit" since I am pregnant.

Medical professionals are against this particular kind off indulgence though, as a woman can get quite sick and baby could be in danger. Therefore, this is one indulgence she may need to work around. There are lots of other lean and cooked meats where she can get her nutrients and this is what she should do to be on the safe side. It is even more important that pregnant women avoid red meat for their sake and their baby's. The main reason is that pregnant women who have consumed the highest amount of animal protein had the greater risk of developing gestational diabetes. Studies also showed that substituting 5% of animal protein for vegetable protein could cut her risk for gestational diabetes in half.

4 Beans And Lentils

There are also women, maybe not as many, who crave protein, but red meat or meat in general disgusts them. Strangely enough, however, they end up with massive bean and lentil stir fry cravings. The mushiness or hard texture of the beans (depending on how they are made), are most likely what appeals to these future Moms. They need to have more protein for energy and the quickness and sometimes the blandness as well help in their easy digestion. If she is prone to constipation, another great idea of eating these will help guard against that problem.

There are so many delicious recipes to cook with too, that it is no wonder that some of the more health conscious Moms go this route. This is one of those healthy prenatal habits that most doctors will continue to encourage. Indulging in extra fiber and magnesium is always a good choice. Also, eating more nuts or legumes has been shown to lower one's risk of developing gestational diabetes.

3 Vinegar

Vinegar from products like pickles or pickled caned goods, is something that is truly acidic and bitter, yet a foremost craving on a lot of women’s minds. Some have even been known to drink vinegar straight from the container. Sometimes a woman craves pickles or other salty substances as they are a refreshing change and wake up the woman with its refreshing taste. The only thing she needs to be careful of is heartburn. It could be a nice flavor change for her and baby by extension. To each her own.

Some women like saukercraut, some prefer chips. Another good strategy is to see what appeals to her to eat with vinegar. As long as her medical are practitioner says it is ok, she should be fine. This strong taste can even help with nausea in some instances. They just need to be sure to take as good care of themselves as possible.

2 Nonedible Foods

Then there are the women that experience immense cravings for non-edible food items such a s grass, rocks, dirt, or chalk; in this case, go and see the doctor immediately. This is a condition called “pica”. It can be very dangerous, and it can indicate an iron deficiency. It may not always be the case, but a woman needs to listen to her body and figure out what it is trying to tell her. As this is common in some cultures, it may be thought to be normal, but though it is common, it is also extremely dangerous and could cause major risks to Mom and baby. That is why Mom cannot let this go on, unless she is willing to risk her and he baby’s safety and well-being. Sometimes being a cultural thing, women will think this is something or some stage they must go through to be healthy but this will not be the case at all.

1 Dairy

Dairy is a good craving to have for the Mom and her baby. The fact that the body is craving dairy probably means that she needs more Vitamin D to help her get healthier and stronger bones. Choosing low fat and lactose-free cheeses (if there are lactose sensitive people) is a good place to start. Many times women will get the urge to eat dairy after the first trimester when their stomachs handle the calcium better. They could be experiencing a lot of tummy troubles in the first trimester with dairy. She needs to find a low fat and healthy version of these products so that she could avoid a lot of stomach issues. The important thing is that she enjoys the food she eats and that it is healthy for her and baby. Her medical care practitioner will help her narrow down the list.

So there are 15 pregnancy cravings finally explained. Most women will experience a sampling of some of these cravings and not others. The important thing to remember is that she stays healthy throughout her pregnancy by getting enough sleep, eating well, and avoiding stress. With regular prenatal visits she knows that she will be in good physical condition to welcome her new baby, one of the most awesome and life changing experiences she will ever go through.

Sources: Baby Center, Web MD, BabyCentre,  Parents, She Knows, Baby Center, Baby Center, Baby Center

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