Pickles and ice cream? Some moms find this craving combination to be true to their experience, but others find it disgusting. Mom's tastes can be amplified or entirely changed during pregnancy. Mom's system could be using intense cravings to fulfill some need that she or the baby has. She will have such an intense desire for something one moment because it's something one of them desperately need. Mom's system will be working to product 30-40% more blood along with helping baby to develop. Hormonal changes can change the way mom thinks and feels about food. Her sense of smell can become surprisingly sharp and so can her sense of taste.
Mom might find herself reaching for comfort foods from her childhood or venturing out to try new foods from other cultures. These cravings probably aren't just a whim. Each type of food mom craves some essential nutrient or at least a boost of energy she desperately needs. Listening to these cravings and analyzing what they might mean could point out essential nutrient deficiencies mom might be having. Some desires can also act as a warning sign of some dangerous health issues. Keep reading to find out precisely what mom's cravings mean.
15 Sweet Sugar To Fight Exhaustion
Having cravings for anything sweet during pregnancy? This could mean several things. When mom can't get enough gummy candies, ice cream, cake, soda or other sweets her body or her baby may be trying to tell her something. As the old wives' tale goes, when mom craves sweet treats during pregnancy she's expecting a girl. Girls are sugar and spice and everything nice after all.
Another reason could be that mom is exhausted. When we are tired, we more often reach for highly palatable, high calorie, quick energy fixes, and those foods tend to be sweet.
They taste good and our body can quickly break them down into usable energy. The problem with this is that they often lack vital nutrients and are loaded with extra calories. The sugar rush that gives mom a buzz of energy won't last long, and before she knows it, she'll be reaching for another sugary treat. Instead, choosing nutritious food that has a mix of complex carbs and protein will serve the body better. The complex carbs like whole grains will take longer to break down, and the protein will stick around even longer. This will give mom a longer stream of energy and help to soothe queazy pregnancy tummies.
14 Meat Filled With Iron
Mom might find herself with intense cravings for meat during pregnancy. Meat can provide several needed nutrients which might just be the reason behind this craving. Since mom's body will be working to add 30-40% more blood, she'll need more iron to help in making the blood.
Meat, especially red meat has the needed iron to help mom make more blood.
B12 is another nutrient that is required for every cell in the body. It is also required for mom to make more blood during pregnancy. B12 only occurs naturally in meat and other animal products. Mom will continue to need more and more protein as the baby's body continues to develop. Protein is needed to build the baby's muscles and brain. Meat is an excellent source of protein and may be a good reason why mom's body is demanding more meat. If mom is craving seafood, though, her body may need different nutrients. Fish is high in omega fatty acids which are essential for brain and eye development. With any meat, mom needs to be careful of the source. The quality of meat and how it is produced can vary greatly. It's important to consider what the animal was fed and where it was grown. Even wild caught fish can have unseen dangers because of the high levels of mercury and other pollutants in many of our riverways and oceans.
13 Spicy Food Can Aggravate Problems
Some women worry about eating spicy foods during pregnancy. There are old wives' tales out there that warn against eating spicy foods. This old wives' tale is just a myth. Eating spicy foods isn't harmful to the developing baby.
Mom, though, might find different spices hard to stomach during pregnancy. Some spices could make mom nauseous based on her preferences and morning sickness.
Other moms find that they have a lot more heartburn during pregnancy. Spicy foods can make this condition more difficult. During pregnancy, mom's body releases a hormone called relaxin. This hormone is responsible for making joints more flexible so that the birth canal can open up more when its time for baby to come. The hormone progesterone also plays a role in this too. It is a mix of these that relaxes other parts of moms body. The valve that closes the top of the esophagus becomes more relaxed during pregnancy too. Usually, this valve keeps stomach acid from entering the esophagus. During pregnancy, it doesn't do its job as well and mom can have more heartburn than usual. Spicy foods will only aggravate this pregnancy anomaly. Some women find that they have to sleep in a recliner or propped up with pillows to keep the stomach acid in the stomach where it belongs.
12 Cake: For Sensitive Taste Buds And Stomach
"Let them eat cake!" is more than a historical quote: it's a battle cry of pregnant women everywhere. Cake cravings can go through the roof during pregnancy. Mom won't be able to think about anything during her baby shower until the cake is cut. Not all women crave cake during pregnancy, but the ones that do more than have their fair share of cake servings. Cake cravings could mean several things. Mom might be fulfilling the old legend that says cake and other sweet needs during pregnancy mean she should paint the nursery pink. But since there isn't any research to back this claim up, let's take a look at the nutritional makeup of cake.
Cake is easy on the taste buds and easy on the stomach. Those two characteristics make it super easy to stomach during the rough months of pregnancy.
The body breaks cake down quickly and easily giving mom a nice boost of energy. This can make her feel better as she fights fatigue. In the afternoon, she might reach for a piece of cake to make it through the rest of the day when all she wants is a nap. The boost mom initially feels from her piece of cake won't last long though. Soon she'll be craving another sugary treat for a blood sugar boost. This can create a fattening and unhealthy pattern of eating.
11 Salty Snacks To Retain Fluids
Potato chips, pretzels, popcorn and even pickles are all on the list of salty snacks mom might be craving. Traditionally, women have believed that salty cravings during pregnancy might mean mom is expecting a boy. There isn't science to back this idea up, but salty snacks could be proving mom and baby with other things they need. Salt helps the body to take more fluid into blood vessels and could give mom the needed boost of fluids to her blood to keep up some bodily functions. Bringing oxygen to the brain is one of the tasks that more salt can fill. It may be short-lived, but the boost in fluids in the blood can help mom's body to feel better for a little bit. Too much sodium in mom's diet could lead to high blood pressure and other health problems. Salt contains different minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium and fluoride. Some table salt has added iodine too. The body needs iodine to make thyroid hormones. During pregnancy, these hormones are essential for proper bone and brain development. Craving things with iodized salt could be critical to baby's development. Most processed foods probably use iodized salt, but natural salts like Himalayan salt or sea salt don't have the added iodine.
10 Watermelon: Hydration And Sweetness
As mom's tummy swells to look like she's swallowed a watermelon, she might be craving watermelon more than ever before. The body is spectacular at telling mom precisely what she needs, and often it does this through specific pregnancy cravings (although mom should always use caution with cravings and only consume what will be safe for her and baby). Watermelon goes beyond just being a great treat for a hot summer day.
It brings lots of nutritional value to mom and baby. The high water content is one way it is perfect for pregnancy.
Mom needs more and more water as baby develops. The extra water helps mom to create the extra blood needed for baby. 92% of the watermelon is made up of water according to FitPregnancy. The sugar in the watermelon can help to reduce morning sickness and dehydration. Watermelon's essential nutrients can even alleviate muscle cramps in the third trimester. Lycopene is an incredible nutrient that is found in high quantities in watermelon. There is even more lycopene in watermelon than tomatoes. Lycopene can boost mom's immunity and also her natural SPF. And that's not all...a study published in International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics found that when pregnant women took a lycopene supplement, the incidents of preeclampsia was reduced by 50%.
9 Pickles To Help Mom's Brain
Everyone has heard that pregnant women crave pickles and for many moms, this craving rings true. Some even report that pickles, for some reason, taste better while they're pregnant than any other time. There could be several reasons for this craving. As the old wives' tale goes, when mom is craving salty foods she is expecting a boy. While science hasn't proven this tale to be true, there could be a scientific link to pickle cravings. According to Nemecheck.com, the body craves what it needs to function better. In this case, the craving is coming from the brain. Mom's body needs more oxygen to function when she's pregnant. This means that her body will need more blood to perform all of the functions it normally would plus account for the needs of the developing baby. Mom's blood volume needs to increase by 30-40% during pregnancy.
Salty foods can help to get more of the required blood to mom's brain, at least temporarily. The increase in sodium can make more fluid get pulled into the blood vessels.
This increased fluid can help to get more oxygen and nutrients to mom's brain. When mom is craving salty snacks like pickles, her body might be sending strong signals that it needs more blood. Mom might feel lightheaded or foggy before these cravings, a sure sign that mom's brain needs more oxygen.
8 Curry To Heal Inflammation
According to WebMD, 1 in 20 women surveyed had curry cravings during pregnancy. For some women, this might be a comfort food. But there could be more to it than that. Some women find that their palate changes during pregnancy and they may suddenly love Indian or Asian curry when they had never considered it before. Old wives' tales say that when mom is craving spicy food, she is expecting a boy, though this hasn't been proven. And since there's a wide range of flavors in different types of curry, not all of it is super spicy. Coconut curry dishes have a sweet taste to them. Turmeric is the main ingredient in curry, and the health benefits of turmeric have been spreading far and wide lately.
Turmeric has potent anti-inflammatory properties and is a very strong anti-oxidant.
It also has been linked to increased brain function and helping to stave off brain diseases. Turmeric is good for the heart and can reverse some damage caused by heart disease. It has been linked to preventing and maybe even curing cancer. This fantastic root can also help with depression. The health benefits seem endless and could be part of the reason that so many moms crave this spice during pregnancy. Eating curry as a spice is recommended, but the jury is still out on the safety of mom taking a specific turmeric supplement. Since so much is still unknown about the delicate process of pregnancy, many recommend against different supplements.
7 Dairy Because The Baby Takes Her Vitamin D
Lots of women crave dairy during pregnancy, and it could be for different reasons. Dairy contains loads of vitamin D (also known as calcium) which is a vital nutrient during pregnancy.
When the baby's body demands more vitamin D, it will take it from anywhere it can. If mom's diet doesn't provide enough vitamin D, then her body will take it from her bones and teeth.
This can temporarily make her bones and teeth weaker. Many women experience more cavities during pregnancy, and this could be part of the reason why. It is thought, though, that after pregnancy mom's body will replace the borrowed calcium and could make her bones stronger than before. Mom's dairy cravings could be to fulfill another need though. If she's craving ice cream or cheese, it could be because her body needs more fat. Ice cream is also high in carbohydrates, and her body could be using it for a quick energy boost. Milk, yogurt, cheese and even ice cream have protein too. Some yogurts, like Greek yogurt, is very high in protein. If mom is craving dairy, it could be because her body or the baby needs a protein boost. Any of these cravings could also point to a good old comfort food craving too. Mom may love these types of food and rely on them when so many other foods could be turning her off.
6 Green Veggies Have Folic Acid For Baby's Brain
Green vegetables are an excellent thing for mom to crave during pregnancy. They are loaded with vitamins and minerals, and mom can eat as many as she'd like without worrying about packing on extra pounds from her indulgences. The only thing mom will need to be concerned with is making sure that they are washed thoroughly.
Dark, leafy greens are high in folate which helps in the healthy development of the baby. Birth defects can occur when mom doesn't get enough folate or folic acid in her diet.
Those same dark, leafy greens like spinach, kale, and chard are also full of Vitamins K and C, iron and calcium. Green beans are full of copper, magnesium, calcium, B1 and more. The high amounts of fiber in all fresh veggies will help mom to stay regular. Some women have problems with constipation during pregnancy. This can be for several reasons. Mom's hormones will slow down the intestines and keep them from pushing waste through as they did before. Plus, the developing baby puts more and more pressure on the pipes which helps to stop things up. Eating lots of fresh veggies will help to keep mom's bodily functions moving and mom more comfortable.
5 Bland Food Because She Can't Keep Anything Down
Mom might find that nothing, in particular, sounds good...except bland foods.
This could happen in the first trimester to help ease her tummy troubles due to morning sickness.
Keeping a little something in mom's stomach like crackers can help to keep nausea at bay. Mom may also be more sensitive to smells during pregnancy. This can send her running to the pantry to look for something like saltines with few scents. If mom is struggling with heartburn, mashed potatoes or noodles won't have as much of a burning effect afterward as other spicy foods. Bland foods can sometimes be comfort foods too. Mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese could make mom feel warm and cozy inside. During pregnancy, mom handles a lot of repressed feelings and issues from the past. She might uncover hurts from her childhood that she never knew about or that she thought she was over. Entering a new season in life like motherhood can quickly reveal areas mom needs to heal in. Another reason for bland desires could be mom's need for more carbohydrates. Bland foods are usually loaded with carbs like grains and pasta. Carbs are easily transferred into energy for the body and can help with mom's fatigue and low energy levels throughout the day.
4 Carrots Help The Baby's Eyes
Carrots are a powerhouse of nutrients and if these veggies are one of mom's cravings, she's lucky. This craving will provide mom and baby with much-needed nutrients. It's possible that mom's body lacks some of the vitamins and minerals to help baby develop.
The beta-carotene found in carrots (which give them their orange color) is needed for eye health and development. But that's not the only benefit of these crunchy treats. Carrots also have Vitamin K, potassium and antioxidants.
Later in pregnancy, mom may experience muscle cramps. This could be due to dehydration or the body's need for more potassium. The potassium in carrots can help with this issue. Carrots are also high in fiber. Fiber will help to keep mom's bodily functions in check. Diets high in fiber help to handle pregnancy constipation. With stool that isn't packed as tightly, mom won't have to strain as hard during toilet time. This can help her to avoid or at least not worsen hemorrhoids. Mom should feel confident in snacking freely on carrots as long as they are thoroughly washed. Carrots provide a healthy snack that is low in calories and high in nutrients perfect for the developing baby.
3 Soda For A Caffeine And Sugar Boost
Mom may find herself craving a sweet soda during pregnancy. This might be because she really should be limiting her pop intake or it could be for several other reasons. As the old wives' tale goes, when mom craves sweet during pregnancy it means that she's going to have a girl. This is just lore though. Mom might crave sweets for a variety of reasons.
One is that they are easy on the stomach and will give mom a quick boost of energy. Nausea and fatigue can make mom reach for anything that fits those two needs. The caffeine in a pop can also give mom a much-needed pick-me-up.
Although too much caffeine could be bad for baby and mom needs to limit her intake during pregnancy. A sweet soda craving could be a sign that mom is having blood sugar problems. Although a glucose test will be needed to decide for sure if mom is having issues with gestational diabetes, sugar cravings could be the first sign that things are off. If mom's blood sugar is too high and starts to drop, she could feel shaky and crave something sugary to solve the problem. A sweet drink might momentarily make mom feel better, but it can be bad for mom and baby.
2 Coffee For Blood Cells, Energy, And Metabolism!
Mom might find herself craving coffee like never before in her life. Since mom realizes that she needs to cut down on the number of cups she has each day or switch to decaf, she might feel her desire increase. She could also be more likely to reach for a cup of coffee when she's feeling the nag of pregnancy fatigue and trying to make her way through her day. Coffee is also relatively high in B2.
B2 or riboflavin is responsible for "maintaining healthy blood cells, boosting energy facilitating in a healthy metabolism, preventing free radical damage, contributing to growth, protecting skin and eye health, and even more" according to Dr. Axe.
This could point to the reason why some women suddenly crave coffee during pregnancy which never had a taste for it before. It could show an underlying need to produce more blood or an indicator that baby needs the B2 in it for some part of its development. Coffee also has smaller amounts of niacin, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and pantothenic acid. The jury is still out on exactly how much coffee is safe during pregnancy. The March of Dimes states that "until more conclusive studies are done, pregnant women should limit caffeine intake to less than 200 mg per day. This is equal to about one 12 oz cup of coffee."
1 Tomato Hydration
Tomatoes are packed with tons of nutrients and are the perfect snack for a pregnant mom. If this is one of mom's cravings, she should count herself lucky. She might be craving it because of a specific need either mom or baby has.
Tomatoes are made up of 95% water. This means that a juicy tomato can help mom stay hydrated and meet her water requirements for the day. They are also loaded with lycopene.
Lycopene has a plethora of heath benefits from lowering heart disease to preventing cancer. The highest amounts of lycopene are actually found in processed tomato products like tomato sauce and ketchup. In addition to lycopene, tomatoes also have beta-carotene, Naringenin, Chlorogenic acid, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin K1 and folate. Vitamin K1 is essential for bone health according to Healthline.com. Folate is critical during pregnancy. It helps the baby to develop correctly and is vital for healthy tissue growth and cell function and new blood production. Not getting enough folate during pregnancy could lead to anemia, placental abruption, and problems with neural tube, spinal and brain development in the fetus. Eating lots of vegetables and taking an excellent prenatal vitamin should provide mom with the folate she needs for a healthy pregnancy.