Throughout your pregnancy, you may notice you are starting to crave foods you’ve never been interested in before, combinations you would be put off by, or even foods you didn’t like at all pre-pregnancy.
Strangely enough, you may be craving things that aren’t even food at all, but things like dirt or chalk. Even stranger, this can be common for pregnant women. By making small changes to your diet, you might be able to get better control over your cravings.
At Greater Than, we know how these cravings can take you by surprise. That’s why we’ve put together this fact sheet to guide you through why your body is craving things possibly a little out of the ordinary.
What Causes Pregnancy Cravings?
Frontiers in Psychology provides research that between 50 to 90 percent of women experience a craving for a specific type of food. Doctors don’t know why precisely pregnant women get the urge for particular textures, tastes, or flavor combinations.
Cravings typically begin around the first trimester and peak in the second, but it can happen at any time during pregnancy. There could be several reasons why you could have cravings, such as raging hormones, your body having to work extra hard to produce more blood, or wanting the comfort of certain foods as your body changes.
Cravings typically begin to disappear after delivery, and you won’t keep eating the same things forever. Usually, you will crave something for a day or two, a different craving for another day or two, and so on.
What Are Typical Pregnancy Cravings?
Pregnancy cravings are usually harmless for many women while sometimes appearing as odd combinations. Typical cravings may include:
- Sweets, such as ice cream
- Dairy, such as cheese
- Starchy carbohydrates
- Fast food such as a burger or Chinese food
- Fruits and vegetables
- Chocolate and ice pops
If you’re looking for a sweet, hydrating, electrolyte drink, consider Greater Than. They can help satisfy your fruit craving when you don’t want the extra loads of sugar.
Uncommon Food Combinations
Pregnancy cravings can create unique food combinations. This is normal, and the variety pregnant women have reported is endless. Here are a few examples of some combinations that many women have reported:
- Boiled eggs with horseradish
- Tuna fish and chocolate milk
- Pickles and peanut butter
- Whole lemons
Although satisfying these combinations or cravings in moderation is usually harmless, it’s important to know how much you’re consuming.
It is also essential to keep track of a healthy and balanced diet because a steady diet of high sugar, fat, or processed foods can create lasting health problems.
What Are Weird Pregnancy Cravings?
If you are experiencing cravings for inedible foods such as dirt, chalk, soap, or ash with little to no nutritional value, you may have symptoms of pica. This compulsive disorder might make you want to eat relatively harmless items, like ice. But in some cases, you might feel drawn to items like dirt, paint, or ash.
Not much is known about pica, especially why some women develop it and others don’t. Some argue that the craving has no purpose, while others, like the Journal of American Dietetic Association, believe it could be tied to vitamin deficiencies.
Some think there could be connections between cravings and your body’s attempt to obtain vitamins or minerals. It’s important to talk to your doctor if you believe you have signs of pica because it can lead to severe consequences, such as lead poisoning.
We have listed some typical but uncommon pregnancy cravings you might experience and watch out for.
Ice is another typical craving you might have during your pregnancy, but it can also indicate you may have pica. Unlike the others, this one is relatively harmless to indulge in. However, be aware of the effect chewing ice or ice chips may have on your teeth.
Ice cravings are typically linked to anemia. Your tongue can become swollen if you have an iron deficiency, and ice can help with any swelling while also providing some hydration.
Although it may not seem normal, chalk is a typical pregnancy craving you might experience, especially since it is a common craving that can indicate pica. Women have admitted to buying chalk to satisfy this craving.
Still, although chalk is typically non-toxic, it is probably in you and your baby’s best interest to avoid giving in to this urge.
Doctors are also unsure about the link between pica and if you are craving dirt. Some think there is a tie between the desire to have dirt could be due to anemia.
While it’s said that dirt and clay can be used as filters to fight against bad toxins and pathogens and fight off morning sickness, they can introduce nasty bacteria into your system. Consider a leafy green salad that can help you with your iron and vitamin intake and possibly help you get rid of this craving.
Ash from cigarettes is another typical uncommon craving that can indicate pica. For obvious reasons, it’s imperative to avoid this. If you have this craving, it’s essential to try and replace this with a banana and inform your doctor.
Are Cravings Harmful To Your Baby?
Eating non-food substances is potentially harmful to you and your baby. Depending on what you could possibly be craving, some ingredients could be toxic or have parasitic components.
Eating too many non-food substances that contain little to no nutritional value can start to interfere with your normal absorption of healthy food substances. It can also create a deficiency or make one worse.
If you find yourself experiencing signs of pica, don’t panic. However, it’s important to talk to a healthcare professional to know how to proceed and manage your symptoms.
Managing Your Pregnancy Cravings
Pica typically affects between 25 to 30 percent of all children. Up to 20 percent of pregnant women develop pica, so you are not alone if you are dealing with non-cravings.
Here are some suggestions we have to help you deal with pica cravings:
- Inform your doctor and review your prenatal health records
- Keep track of your iron as well as your vitamin and mineral intake
- Research and consider substitutes that you could replace with your cravings
- Inform your partner, friend, or family member and who can help you avoid non-food cravings
At the end of the day, it is important to monitor all your cravings. If you have questions or concerns about your pregnancy cravings, reach out to your doctor and healthcare provider for more information.
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At Greater Than, we want you to know you aren’t alone. Whether you’re a parched pregnant mom-to-be, a lactating mom looking for liquid gold, a weekend warrior looking to crush your PR, or a big kid looking for a healthy juice box, Greater Than is the hydration hack your household can rely on.