When a woman has pregnancy cravings the whole world will know about it. The cravings are not just light “I could really eat a peanut butter and jalapeno sandwich right now”, for a pregnant woman it is more a case of “I need that peanut butter jalapeno sandwich, or I will die.”
Women the world over have been driven to tears and madness by unfulfilled pregnancy cravings. Men have likewise been driven to frustration by their pregnant wives’ cravings. According to some scientists, the cravings come from the body’s need to intake some vital nutrients. However, all too often this need leads to junk food and sweets, so it is good to aim for a healthier alternative that suits the craving.
With that in mind, we have found the most common pregnancy cravings that women have. For each, you will also find a healthier alternative that can help the craving and keep mother and baby happy.
Right at the top of the list, we see seaweed as one of the most common cravings in pregnancy. Seaweed beat chocolate out of its common number one spot when Emma’s Diary, the Maternity Website, quizzed moms to be on their cravings.
According to Scientists a craving for seaweed is your body asking for antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. This is a healthy craving to have. Any green leafy vegetables are an excellent addition to a pregnancy diet and should be encouraged.
Who doesn’t like chocolate? It has long been a favourite of many women, so it comes as no surprise that they only want it more when they are pregnant. However, chocolate doesn’t sit alone at number two with many associating with the need for sweets during pregnancy.
Wanting to eat more chocolate and other sweets during pregnancy is described by scientists as the need for sugar, energy, vitamin B or a positive neural response. It has even been suggested that eating chocolate, in moderation, can increase your life expectancy. Therefore, there are many reasons to indulge in chocolate throughout pregnancy.
However, if you find that you are indulging a little too much in this tasty snack there are other options that can help the cravings. The most common reason for craving chocolate is the sugar as the sugar provides quick energy that the pregnancy is eating up. Healthy alternatives include fruit and fruity snacks.
A whole gherkin straight from the jar, a bowl of pickled onions with some dip, sandwiches with picked ingredients and little else. These are all familiar choices for many a pregnant lady. What is it that causes such a craving?
Science suggests that pregnant women crave more salty and sweet flavours during pregnancy due to a change in tastebuds. Some women have changed their eating habits completely during pregnancy, such a change happens early in the pregnancy and is thought to be brought about by the same changes that cause morning sickness.
Pickled foods are often full of vitamin C reducing the risk of preeclampsia and premature birth. In moderation, they are an excellent addition to a pregnant lady’s diet. On the other hand, the high sodium content can affect blood pressure so one must always watch their intake to make sure they don’t eat too much.
Chicken and Jam
It is not unusual for a pregnant lady to crave this combination. The need for jam often goes with the need for sweets, chocolate and other sugary things. The need for chicken is seen as a need for protein. Protein is an essential component in building up tissues and organs. As a pregnant lady is basically building another body inside of her she needs as much protein as she can get. Remember to show her how much you appreciate the hard work she is putting in on a daily basis.
Protein can also be found in a large variety of nuts, beans and seeds. If one is a vegetarian and suddenly has a need for chicken, nuts and nut loaf is a great alternative.
Ice cubes serve many a purpose during pregnancy. The most common reason women turn to ice is as a relaxing cure for morning sickness. Chewing on ice cubes can reduce nausea that they feel.
Another reason for turning to the freezer and the blessed relaxation of frozen water is for the iron. A pregnant woman chewing on ice cubes may find that they have or are developing anaemia, a lack of iron in the blood.
A doctor can prescribe pills to get the iron in the body up, but a home alternative would be to eat more iron-rich foods like red meats and dark green vegetables. If anaemia is the problem the mother-to-be will need plenty of rest and pampering so she can remain as healthy as possible for the baby.
Whole blocks of cheese can be decimated by a pregnant woman. Cheese can find its way onto every meal, no matter how strange. Cheese on toast, easy. Cheese on a Sunday lunch, why not? Cheese on your ice cream, even cheesecake has cheese in it so why not?
Dairy products such as cheese are normally on the pregnant woman’s craving list due to their high calcium content. Calcium is important to the creating and sustaining of bones.
On the downside, cheese is an unhealthy option when eaten in large quantities so it is wise to temper this desire with a selection of yoghurts. Yoghurts have the calcium that comes with cheese and they hold healthy probiotics too.
Fish and seafood are a good source of protein and a great source of iron, but if a pregnant woman is craving seafood in particular it could be the Omega 3 that they are craving.
If you are not a fan of the seafood itself, you can get omega 3 in easy-to-swallow capsules.
Omega 3 comes with a wide range of excellent benefits and no risks. These natural oils are needed for the development of the brain, they also reduce inflammation and reduce the chances of other pregnancy illnesses. A good dose of omega-3 once the baby is born can also reduce the risks of going into post-partum depression.
Garlic bread is a healthy and not-so-healthy craving at the same time.
Craving garlic is great for a pregnant lady as garlic can provide the rare and essential element selenium. Selenium is the element that a body needs to create effective antibodies, it can also protect you from heart disease and boost your immune system.
The bread part of this dish is the not-so-healthy part. Although bread does provide a great source of carbohydrates, the complex sugars involved can cause issues when taken in large doses.
Whether it is for the salt or the carbohydrates, French fries are something that you have to be careful not to indulge in too often. The carbohydrates are good and provide vital elements to a pregnant body, the salt can also serve to retain fluids in the body that the baby might be needing. Both components are only good in moderation as too much of a good thing can become bad for you.
Alternative ways to get the carbohydrates and the salt include eating more fresh vegetables, drinking more sweetened beverages or making cracker snacks. For instance, crackers and cheese with a side of strawberries can solve a fruit, salt, and carbohydrate craving all at once.
Pregnant ladies are often pictured munching on junk food and there are many reasons for that. Top of the list of reasons will be the resulting dopamine. Dopamine is a feel-good drug that the brain releases when it has something it enjoys. That rush of happiness that you get when you eat your favourite snack, that happy cosy feeling when enjoying your favourite beverage is a result of Dopamine.
Whichever way you look at it, being pregnant is hard work and we all need a lift me up sometime. Indulging in some junk food is a good way to start feeling good and get a mix of the vitamins, carbohydrates and sugars that you need to continue making your baby in happiness.
Another good way of getting that dopamine release without all the junk food is to ensure that the mom-to-be feels well cared for. Mama Jewels have a wide range of spa packages that are effective to give the mother a dopamine-filled evening of rest and relaxation, great for mother and baby alike.
Are You Ready to Tackle the Rollercoaster of Pregnancy Cravings?
We hope that this article has been more educational and inspirational. Dealing with food cravings can be hard work for a pregnant lady, having someone there with her to find what she needs when she needs it can make all the difference. Remember, when the baby arrives you will no longer resent being sent to that 24-hour shop at 1 in the morning to fix her craving for chocolate-covered pickles.
When the baby arrives mother will have a whole new world to go through. Pregnancy cravings may be a thing of the past, but the new world of dealing with babies has its own challenges. Remember to take the time to help the new mother feel special, this new world can be tiring for her.