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7 Pregnancy cravings and what they mean

By Danielle van Wyk

For as long as women have been having babies, they have been having cravings. From ice cream to chalk and cheese. Many a pregnancy story has begun with a pregnant woman with a feverish craving and her nervous husband anxiously seeking the latest object of her desire – such as a bottle of pickles in the middle of the night.

Cravings are a reality, but should they be a cause for concern?

The short answer is no.

According to Philips Mother and Child it is common for most pregnant women to experience cravings whether they are healthy, unhealthy or just uncommon.

Below are seven of the most common cravings mommies-to-be may have:

1.Ice, clay, soil and paper –  While this may sound like weird things to crave, it is actually quite common. “Craving items without nutritional value sometimes can be an indication of anaemia. However, this has to be confirmed by a doctor and you should be advised on how to manage it,” states a Philips Mother and Child spokesperson.

2.Pickles – While pickles are just the thing on a hamburger, several  jars at a time are probably not as commonplace.

Philips Mother and Child explains: “This could be a sign that you are low in sodium. However, there is no real proof of this. This is a very common craving that many pregnant women experience.”

3.Fruits – Low in calories and easy to get your hands on, fruit may not be the worst option.

“Eating healthy foods has a variety of benefits for you and your growing baby. Sometimes the body will just crave good things like watermelons and grapes. Both are refreshing and provide you and the baby with a boost of vitamin C that you both need,” Philips Mother and Child adds.

4.Coffee – Caffeine may be what you gravitate towards, because let’s face it - growing life inside of you is exhausting!

But as many of us know, caffeine is not healthy for the baby and most doctors will advise pregnant women against it.

However, “if you’ve had a love affair with it long before your pregnancy, you may experience some cravings as you feel it will give you the kick you need to get through your day. However, rather consult with your doctor to find out if you are allowed to drink coffee and how much caffeine you may consume,” Philips Mother and Child states.

5.Comfort food – Pregnant or not, who doesn’t like comfort food? And while comfort foods are not always healthy, they can provide us with a little comfort that is sometimes needed during pregnancy.

“This is not an easy journey for some and comfort food can make it a little bit more bearable. However, while you can indulge in some comfort foods here and there, please keep it to a minimum. You want to ensure you stay healthy throughout the pregnancy for you and your baby’s health,” says Philips Mother and Child.

6.Weird food combinations – Think banana and sauerkraut on toast or avocado and chocolate cake.

“This is an unexplained phenomenon, and it has never been proven to be harmful to both mom and baby, obviously depending on what it is you crave,” Philips Mother and Child responds.

7.Dairy – “Some pregnant women crave dairy products which contain calcium and helps develop the baby’s bones and teeth. Calcium can be found in products such as milk, yogurt and cheese. Non-dairy sources of calcium include spinach, canned fish, dried figs, oranges and white bread – this can be helpful for a mother who cannot consume dairy products,” Philips Mother and Child adds.

What do pregnancy cravings typically mean?

If you mentally ticked yes to any of the seven options above, then pregnancy cravings are not new to you. But, are they dangerous?

According to Philip Mother and Child, “Pregnancy cravings can mean different things for different women. For some it can be a mere mood enhancer. However, in some cases certain cravings for specific food types can be a sign of what the pregnant mother’s body is lacking. This is where regular visits to the doctor come in handy and you can receive updates on your health.”

While indulging and enjoying may be your first inclination as a pregnant woman, it does lead to weight gain and potential other health risks. Pregnant or not, moderation remains key!

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