Pregnancy Week 16: Hello Appetite

Please tell me someone else can relate to this: I just returned home from my weekly grocery shopping trip, and as I was unpacking my bags, I noticed several items I was surprised I had purchased. Watermelon, grapes, bananas, oranges…Sara Lee snack cakes? Captain Crunch cereal? I’m pregnant, and cravings have hit with full force. But why do pregnant women really crave foods?

Meaning Behind the Cravings

Some cravings pregnant women have actually have meaning. For example, if you are craving red meat, you may be lacking protein. Can’t get enough peaches? You may be lacking beta carotene. Eating chocolate daily? Maybe your body needs more magnesium. For me lately, it is all about the fruit. I could spend a ton of money in the produce section at my local grocery store. One week it’s raspberries, the next cantaloupe, and this week, it’s watermelon. Some women even crave things that aren’t healthy for their bodies or baby. Cravings of laundry detergent, Windex cleaner, or cigarette butts could be linked to a condition called pica. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you start having unhealthy cravings that could hurt you or baby.

Top Food Cravings

With my daughter, my cravings were all a part of my environment. I was working outside at an aquatic center, so I frequented the concession stand. Banana slushies, nachos, and pretzels with salt were my trouble spots. Many pregnant women put pickles in their top cravings. It could be the crunch or vinegar taste. Actress Natalie Portman craved anything with vinegar during her pregnancy. Another popular item to crave is ice. I had a friend who constantly chewed on ice throughout her pregnancy. It can be soothing. Salty snacks like potato chips are also a top craving.

Cravings and Gender

Some old wives’ tales believe that what you crave can help you determine the gender of your baby. Your baby may be female if you crave sweets and things like chocolate and fruit. If you are craving more of the salty foods, then your baby may be a boy. Seems like a stretch to me, because I could go for both chocolate and potato chips right now.

While it’s fun to be pregnant and indulge in different foods, the most important thing to remember is that you are taking care of yourself and a growing baby. Make good, healthy, nutritional food choices. If you are eating too much junk, talk to your spouse or a friend and have someone help you become accountable. I have decided that my husband is going to the grocery store next week so that I don’t come home with things I don’t need.

So, mommas, what did you crave?

Karyn Meyerhoff lives and writes in Northeast Indiana. While she loves to eat, she loves her growing baby much more! 

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