Food Cravings

You might have seen in movies a demure wife asking her husband for raw mango or helping herself to a generous helping of pickle and the mother-in-law deducing that she is in the family way.  Pregnancy is a period of food cravings, mood swings, excitement and anxiety. So how do different people have different cravings during different stages of pregnancy?

Many believe pregnancy cravings are those signs that the body sends out to indicate that it needs some particular nutrient. It might come out as an urge to have a particular food, but in reality it is the need for a specific ingredient that the expectant mom confuses with the food. For eg: if you feel like having pickle it might be a sign that you need more sodium.

The high hormone levels during pregnancy may alter your sense of taste or smell.  This is more acute during the initial stages of pregnancy. So certain food or smell might appeal more to you or may feel repulsive (food aversion). Your taste buds play an important role here in interpreting your body’s needs.

Though food cravings are not necessarily dangerous to the baby or the mom, overindulgence might result in complications due to excessive weight gain. Pica – a condition wherein the expectant mother craves for non-food item can result in serious complications. This may manifest in cravings for mud, lead, crayons etc. Consuming non-food items can have serious implications for the child ranging from impaired hearing, learning disabilities and low motor skills. Whenever there is craving for a particular food (especially non-nutritious), take a moment to understand the actual need and try to go for a healthier alternative.

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