Food cravings aren’t all that bad – until you realize that they are taking a toll on your overall health and your shape. Many women today are victims of body shaming because of the “ideal images” of a woman among mass media. This is also why many women are afraid to get pregnant because they fear that they won’t get back into shape after they give birth to a child due to the really common stereotype that pregnant women tend to get fat faster.
However, the biggest problem with controlling cravings is that they aren’t just caused by some random factors – they could be involved with a woman’s reproductive cycle, which of course, involves pregnancy.
Have you ever felt like eating anything (or sometimes absolutely nothing) you see on your period? That’s most likely the case when you do get pregnant. Women will often tend to have these cravings during such periods of their lives (pun intended) as well as when they start to conceive a baby. Basically, anything that involves your reproductive system, as a woman, will have an effect on your diet and your cravings.
So When Do Food Cravings Start in Pregnancy?
Most women agree that their food cravings appear when their first trimester comes to a close end. These cravings become really strong once your baby goes to the second trimester, but it will eventually go away as your baby develops. Remember, as an expectant mother, your baby also needs to feed, and that’s a good reason to keep on feeding health stuff to them!
A woman may also tend to crave on a single food only, such as avocados, mangoes, chicken soup or even corn. In fact, some cultures, like in the Philippines, attribute these cravings to the genetic features of a child once they come out. They use the cultural/superstitious term “lihi” when a woman is craving for a certain food. For example, when a child has fair or light skin, it is thought that the cause might be the woman’s craving for white food, such as rice or white radish.
In addition to food cravings, some women who are pregnant may also tend to suddenly hate a certain kind of food. Some of these foods used to be their favorite thing and for some odd reason, they aren’t any more! Food cravings and aversions alike can make pregnant women feel quite confused and sometimes, sick with nausea. Their partners need to have not just enough patience but also budget to buy if not all, most of these food cravings to satisfy their wife.
What Causes Pregnancy Food Cravings?
Food cravings can be caused by any of the following:
The most important reason why you get super hungry on your first and second trimester (and also when you’re about to have your period) is that your hormones are at work. There are certain pregnancy hormones that prompt you to repeatedly eat some kind of food that you’ve had just before you got pregnant, let’s say ice cream or pasta.
Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done with hormones because they are natural causes. Hormones are the hardest to fight and control because they are the reasons why women can conceive a baby, anyway.
2. Your body has its own mind
This may sound a little scary, but your cells and your body actually know what you are lacking. If they detect that your vitamin C levels are a little low, they will make some sort of signal call to your taste buds so that you will get a craving for something that has vitamin C, such as fruits, citrus, juices and the like. However, this does not always work out well, since some of these signals get mixed and they translate to different food cravings.
Aside from these sudden food cravings, the aversions or the repulsive actions that you may feel towards certain food may also be your body’s way of telling you that it’s unhealthy for you. For instance, if you loved junk foods when you weren’t pregnant and you suddenly got sick of it when you’re finally getting a baby, it’s probably an automatic response of your body to keep your baby healthy, which is a good thing!
3. Your taste buds work differently
Because pregnancy causes you to be super duper sensitive in almost every aspect of your 5 senses, your taste buds may also get too sensitive as well. A food that you used to eat could soon be something you’d hate because you couldn’t bear its sourness or bitterness anymore since your sense of taste is heightened. Imagine doing that to bitter gourds and spinach!
The best solution for this is to have a balanced diet. Have every kind of taste in just one plate so that you can contradict the other. If you have a lot of veggies at hand, you should at least include some fruits to keep them balanced and a bit of slightly salty foods and meat as well. A well-balanced diet is important for pregnant women not just because of their baby’s nutrition, but also with their whacky taste buds.
4. You tend to treat food as a form of comfort
We all know the term “comfort food”, especially when we feel bad. Perhaps we often feel good when we have a bowl of chicken noodle soup or a cup of green tea on a bad day, and pregnancy is probably just one of those days when we need such comfort food. Keeping a good positive mood is important so that you’ll experience the bad side of pregnancy less.
To wrap it up, food cravings in pregnancy are normal and aren’t half-bad, as long as you manage your diet plan carefully. Food cravings and aversions can be difficult at first, but once they start, your best bet is to keep your daily meals balanced in terms of taste, nutritional value and of course, budget-wise, since you will be expecting a new family member soon!