What Pregnancy Cravings Really Mean

All I could think about was TACO BELL….

Now as someone who believes in “real food” taco bells went against everything I stood for but….I WAS PREGNANT. Now I am pregnant for the second time and I have craved lots of carrots and anything crunchy. I’ll admit, before my first pregnancy I thought that pregnancy cravings must be some kind of over exaggeration. Boy, was I wrong. As a pregnant lady I find myself thinking about food all the time and I have both cravings and aversions . So the questions is….

 

Do Pregnancy Food Craving Mean Anything??

Unfortunately there is no scientific explanation for food cravings but I don’t think this means they should be discounted. Often times cravings might be giving us clues that we are missing key nutrients in our diet. It is also important to note that we are growing a human and our body wants more of everything and our bodies may trigger cravings so we are simply motivated to eat more. 

The most confusing thing about cravings is that they can be off the wall and often not very healthy. So how do you interpret unhealthy and weird cravings? 

Chocolate

Chocolate is a craving many woman experience pregnant or not and the reason for this is two fold. Chocolate has feel good ingredients in it that boost your mood but it also contains magnesium which most women need more of. I’ve started taking a magnesium supplement every night before bed and it helps me sleep more soundly and I honestly haven’t had an intense chocolate craving in months. Don’t worry though…I still eat chocolate, I just don’t NEED it. You can either apply magnesium topically(like this one) or take an oral supplement(I take this one). 

Fast food

This is a tough one because my taco bell craving felt ONLY about eating Taco Bell but looking back it was probably more about craving FAT and SALT. Pregnant women need healthy fats for the growing babies brain and nervous system and so often many of the “fatty” cravings are signaling your body to eat more fat. The sources of fat I recommend during pregnancy are avocado, pastured butter, pastured eggs, coconut oil, grass fed beef and fermented cod liver oil. 

It is a common misconception that pregnant women need to limit their salt intake however pregnant women NEED salt. You can read more about the health benefits of salt here. Not all salt is the same, conventional salt is HIGHLY processed and should be avoided. I recommend real sea salt like this or this. If you are craving salty foods homemade popcorn cooked in coconut oil and sprinkled with sea salt is a great way to qualm your craving. Buy quality salt here.

Do pregnancy cravings mean ANYTHING www.cocoswell.com.jpg

 

 Sugar 

Craving sugar can be a problem before even becoming pregnant. Sugar is highly addictive and the more we eat it the more we want it. The craving can be EVEN STRONGER during pregnancy because the increase of blood volume and  hormonal changes may cause your blood sugar to dip more often. To avoid low blood sugar while pregnant make sure you are eating plenty of protein and eat small frequent meals. Eating too much sugar during  pregnancy puts one at risk for gestational diabetes. When you crave something sweet go for fresh fruit and switch out conventional white sugar for honey, maple syrup for coconut sugar. Watch my video all about the healthiest sugar options here. 

Strange or non-food cravings 

While I didn’t think my intense craving for carrots was all that strange I found out that my iron was low at my first midwife appointment. I realized that carrots are both relatively high in iron for a vegetable and people low in iron often crave crunchy foods like popcorn,ice or carrots.  

Pregnant women are more likely to develop a disorder called PICA where you crave non food substances like dirt, clay, chalk or sand. Pica is linked to mineral deficiencies-more specifically iron. If you ever crave a non-food substance called your doctor or midwife immediately. It is very important to get enough iron during pregnancy. Meat (particularly liver), beans, and spinach are all high in iron (see more iron rich foods here). If you are unable to get enough iron from food you can supplement you can supplement with this or this. 

 

Now it’s your turn!! Share in the comments below about your pregnancy cravings! What were they? Do you think they meant something? 

 

8 Comments

  1. Bethany S

    Very interesting and good information! I will have to keep this close at hand! I am pregnant, but have not yet had any cravings to speak of. But I have tried to substitute better things. For instance instead of Peanut M&M’s, I bring an apple and Nutella/Yogurt dip. I usually end up eating only about 2 TBSPs of the dip, instead of a whole bag of peanut M&M’s. I also try to make sure I have fruit or vegetables with every meal, and take some to work for snacks. Instead of hitting the popcorn or vending machine. Thanks for the information!

  2. Tina

    Thank you 🙂
    I’ve been trough popcorn, chocolate and sugar (6,5 months pregnant now). The popcorn-craving disappeared after I started taking iron supplements – I use Floradix, I was quite low on iron. The chocolate-cravings have almost disappeared too, after I got some more magnesium 🙂 And,I try to eat 70% chocolate if I still get cravings.
    The need for sugar has become less too, after taking magnesium-supplements 🙂
    It’s good to know why my body screams for these things, especially when I KNOW they’re not healthy, so thank you again for sharing information 🙂

  3. Kelli A.

    I craved Mexican food of all kinds and at all hours – the more jalapeños the better. Then I would randomly want chocolate milk or honey buns. There was a sobbing-in-the-floor meltdown when my husband told me (over the phone) that my favorite local breakfast burrito place was out of bacon. But no chicken ever – the sight of chicken made me want to vomit.

  4. Loretta Nurse

    I’m a pregnant woman who constantly cravs Mexican food so I stopped by Una Mas in Sunnyvale, CA. When I walked in, their atmosphere was warm and comfortable. I enjoyed all their meals and now requests that my husband get take out from them every week. I recommend you check them out http://unamas.com.

  5. Elizabeth L.

    Thank you for your helpful advice. Im 9 weeks today and so far the weirdest craving I have had is cucumbers. I HATE CUCUMBERS. I think there so gross and normally cant even get them up without getting nauseated. So instead of eating them because thinking about eating them make me puke but the smell was all I wanted. I cut them up and made cucumber water with lemon slices and kiwi. That total did the trick and it was awesome. My husband called it liquid salad. Lol =)

  6. Ah

    My pregnancy so far has been aweful. Sick all the time. Until the cravings started I couldn’t eat anything. All food was gross. I have one craving. Plain bagel toasted with lots of empty cheddar cheese dipped in Runny egg yolks topped with hot sauce.
    If that is not the epitome of a pregnancy craving I dont know what is. I try and ignore my craving for healthier food. I try to eat a variety of food. But when ever I eat anything that is not my one craving. I feel so incredibly sick. I get incredibly sick. And I’m on my butt for a few hours.
    I didn’t have anything close to this with my last 2 pregnancies. I hope it stops soon. It’s been 3 weeks now.

  7. celia

    Wow~ thanks! Great info! I have been craving on chocolates and fast food! Omg.. I was scared it will hit me with gestational diabetes.. hopefully with these info it gets me change my diet~~ =)

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