No one really knows why pregnancy cravings occur though there are theories that there may be some nutrient that the mother may be lacking. Craving is the body’s way of asking for what it needs. For example, that overwhelming desire for pickles could be the body asking for more sodium. That aching for a plate of fries may be the need for protein or potassium. And a second helping of ice-cream, calcium or fat.
Often these seemingly unquenchable longings for eclectic combinations of food are something which the mother might never otherwise even dream of eating.
Here is a list of the top foods craved by most pregnant women and why:
Pregnant women love to chew on ice. Those with anaemia are more likely to be seen chewing on ice. It helps relieve inflammation of the mouth and tongue, a common symptom of anaemia.
Chocolate or any sweet for that matter is something pregnant women cannot get enough of. This is probably because chocolates make you happy.
Curry or red hot peppers are yet another common craving. Interestingly, it may be because hot, spicy foods make the body sweat, which cools off the body.
Women who crave pickles could be low in sodium. Some like the crunch, some like the vinegar, and some like the taste.
Like pickles, potato chips are loaded with salt. It either may be that they are low in sodium or they desire something salty and crunchy. Since potato chips are high in fat, alternative snacks should be taken.
Fruits such as watermelons and grapes are some of the fruits which pregnant women crave. Maybe the urge to have a healthy baby causes the craving. Since fruits are cool and refreshing, it provides the mother and her baby with a boost of vitamin C.
Pregnant women crave sour fruits. Due to the hormonal changes, taste buds change, so the desire for super sour foods.
Ice cream is sweet, so it helps to cool off, and it is rich and creamy. The healthier version could be low-fat frozen yogurt topped with fresh fruits.
Women who experience morning sickness could try a fizzy carbonated drink.
Coffee is craved by pregnant mothers, especially those who drank it before conceiving. The doctor’s advice on how much coffee is healthy ought to be sought.
A craving for sugary sweets can be a sign of gestational diabetes, but most of the time it is due to the hormonal changes that affect the pregnant woman’s scent and taste perception.
Beans and greens
Some women crave healthy foods like green leafy vegetables and whole grains that provide the body with lots of essential nutrients like magnesium and fibre.
Red meat is full of protein and iron, which many pregnant women crave.
Most fruit juices are full of vitamins, which is good for the body. Juices that contain no added sugar are a healthier option, though.
An increase in blood volume can change the dietary needs of sodium in the pregnant mother. It is not uncommon for women to crave salty foods.
Lots of women get the urge to eat dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese after their first trimester. The calcium and protein-rich, low-fat dairy foods help satiate the cravings.
Some of the unusual cravings are:
- Mothers-to-be may be seen dunking pickles into peanut butter
- Olives in ice cream
- Craving for non-edible stuff like chalk or crayon.
- Pica is a condition in which one craves and eats non-food items. It can be very dangerous if the mother-to-be gives in to the craving. These can include things like dirt, laundry starch, and ground up clay pots.
It is thought that pica can indicate an iron deficiency, but even if that is not the case, the doctor needs to be consulted to figure out what the body is trying to tell.