Pregnancy cravings are caused by multiple factors that can come from physical and psychological needs. They can be linked physically to the sudden hormone imbalance that occurs in your body during pregnancy. But our emotional balance and mental wellbeing also play a big role in this, since food can be a quick way of getting a positive stimulus that the brain perceives as a comfort source.
The most common time for food cravings to start is around 3 weeks. Usually cravings start in the first trimester, seem to intensify during the second trimester and tend to occur more rarely in the third. So you will get them probably pretty early and live with them throughout your pregnancy. 40% of women declared they were craving sweet food and about 30% of them wanted salty snacks. The body has a way of telling you what nutrients it lacks through certain cravings but this not considered to be true in this case. It has not been proven to be a link between pregnancy cravings and a lack of nutrients in your body because the food pregnant women usually crave is candy and different kind of sweets and random snacks that don’t contain so many important vitamins or minerals,
Prepare yourself for loving the most random food. Chips, ice cream, pickles, cake and maybe all of them together could sound like a good idea during pregnancy. Don’t judge yourself and munch on the things you really enjoy. You deserve those moments of comfort and your baby will benefit from your peace of mind. To have some control over the food you eat, try to keep a diary so you don’t forget to eat important, healthy food and get to a point where you replace it with junk food. Another important thing is to learn what type of food you should avoid during pregnancy.
You might find it unusual that you can also dislike some of the foods you used to eat even daily but food aversions can also occur during pregnancy. They start during the same time as food cravings. Food aversions happen because of the hormonal imbalance, nausea and vomiting. The most common food that pregnant women tend to avoid is meat. It’s one of the foods that is harder for the body to digest. Meat can also carry dangerous bacteria so this aversion might also be a way in which the body signals you to protect yourself and the baby. A study published in The Quarterly Review of Biology linked the level of meat consumption with the frequency of morning sickness, concluding that women who ate less meat also experienced morning sickness more rarely.
It might get to a point where you feel you don’t recognize or control your body anymore, because cravings and aversions can be unfamiliar and sometimes really powerful. They will drop by now and then so just be prepared to do some extra visits to the supermarket to avoid unnecessary frustration.
The good part is that after you give birth to your baby, both cravings and aversions will happen less frequently and disappear eventually. The body has always a way of telling you what it needs so listening to the cravings you have after the baby arrives is also important. The body will provide you with signals that he needs certain foods that contain the vitamins and minerals it lacks. Keep in mind that as long as you breastfeed, you will need certain nutrients so the baby gets the best out of the milk you provide him with.