Ever wondered why a lot of women have bizarre food cravings during pregnancy? Here's everything you need to know.
I know I did, I couldn't get enough chalk-like foods into me during my third and fourth pregnancy and come my fifth, well, chalk lollies, Parma Violets and polo mints were my best friends.
Also during my first four pregnancies, I also craved chicken on the bone, off the bone, fried, baked, with or without crumb - it didn't really matter but as a strict vegetarian who avoids all types of animal foods, it was a hard pill to swallow because I simply couldn't get enough of it.
If you're wondering about why pregnant women can crave strange food combinations, the most common cravings, food aversions and what to do if you have a desire to eat non-edible substances such as coal and chalk - look no further.
Food cravings during pregnancy are the sudden urge to eat a particular type of food and believe it or not, it is quite common, especially as the first trimester comes to an end.
Nobody really knows the exact reason why food cravings develop during pregnancy but there are a few theories including a heightened sense of smell and taste, increased hormone changes in the body and in some cases, nutritional deficiencies. For example, a craving for milk could mean you need milk while a want for fruit may signal a need for Vitamin C. However, in recent years some researchers have found that food cravings may be all in our heads. That's right, some believe it is psychological.
For most women, pregnancy food cravings fall into four categories: spicy, salty, sour and sweet and the most common food cravings includes ice-cream, pickles, chocolate, peanut butter and spicy foods such as curries.
It is ok to give in to certain food cravings alongside a balanced diet. However, if you're craving a lot of unhealthy foods such as sweets and chocolate, try not to overindulge. On occasion, some women develop a bizarre craving to eat not edible substances like chalk, charcoal, plaster, soap and even coffee grounds. This is a condition known as pica and you should consult your doctor or midwife immediately. In some cases, a craving for non-food items can indicate a nutritional deficiency, particularly iron.
Just like food cravings, many women experience a sudden dislike to certain foods, textures and smells, especially during the first trimester. It is believed that food aversions are caused by the hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy. The most common food aversions include meat, dairy, onions, garlic, spicy food and coffee. Research has proven food aversions to being most common in early pregnancy but it can also develop at any time during your pregnancy.