Cravings in pregnancy: why they appear, causes and how to reduce them
Believe it or not, statistics say that three out of four pregnant women feel cravings throughout pregnancy, especially related to food. They tend to be fixed and clear cravings, which are not satisfied with any other food that-at any other time-could serve as a substitute.
They are part of pregnancy and are absolutely normal. In fact, it is estimated that around 90% of women have some craving for at least one type of food during pregnancy. And such cravings are irreplaceable.
For example, if the pregnant woman wants a piece of chocolate, a cup of ice cream or even just a piece of fruit, she will feel the need for satisfaction and the desire will also become urgent, so she will need to consume it and no other food it will serve as a substitute.
On the other hand, as we indicated, in general Cravings in pregnancy are presented as a need for urgent satisfaction, so that it must be satisfied as quickly as possible. When this is achieved it produces a special pleasure in the woman, but when it is not like that, the pregnant woman can become serious and angry.
But it may be the case that the craving is not about a particular food in particular (such as a piece of cake or a fruit). It may happen that the craving is related to a mixture of bizarre food and that at other times could terrify more than one, such as eating hot sauce by spoonfuls or "enjoy" a plate of olives and sweet cheese cake.
What are the causes of cravings in pregnancy?
The truth is that experts are not entirely clear what are the causes that can influence or cause the appearance of known cravings during pregnancy.
Most experts establish three related causes:
It is well known that, pregnancy, is a real revolution in the body of women, especially as far as hormonal changes are concerned. In this sense, many experts relate hormonal changes with the appearance of cravings, which apparently would be related to the changes that occur in the senses of taste and smell.
Thus, while a pregnant woman may experience a craving for a particular food or food, she may also have rejection for other dishes.
Some specialists attribute the appearance of cravings to the existence of nutritional deficits, so that depending on the deficit that exists the craving will appear for one food or another.
For example, it is common for vitamin B deficiency to make women feel like eating chocolate, the need for protein could be related to the desire to eat meat, the lack of antioxidants such as beta carotene could influence the desire to eat carrots or peaches ...
The same happens with the need to consume fatty acids, and the increase in the desire to eat foods rich in natural oils (as is the case of olive oil).
Possible psychological cause
From a psychological point of view, some experts consider that the greater need for affection and the feeling of anxiety that pregnancy generates tend to be the main causes that would cause the appearance of cravings.
For this reason it is usually very common that the foods that tend to crave the most are less healthy foods, as would be the case of ice cream, candy, jelly beans, cakes or traditional chocolate.
How can we reduce the cravings of pregnancy?
The cravings can become a serious problem when we try to maintain an appropriate weight based on our physical complexion, height and physical activity, even more so if we are following a diet of weight loss. In the case, for example, of pregnancy, this can be equally negative for both your health and that of your baby if you opt for highly caloric, little nutritious and healthy foods.
Although there is no doubt about the important nutritional benefits that fruit and vegetables provide, the truth is that every day it is common to feel desires to sink the tooth into a bag of chips, a cake or a bun.
The result? Its high amount of empty calories, fat and therefore in calories, can negatively influence not only our own weight, but our health, increasing the risk of overweight and obesity when then that excessive consumption of calories is not burned through of the practice of physical exercise.
Obviously, when we talk about cravings we also talk about chopping between meals, because when we can not control our appetite, it is quite common for our bodies to ask us to consume foods rich in simple carbohydrates.
If you are one of those who can not resist a whim, especially when you have it in front of your nose, it is possible that - if you wish - you need some tips to reduce cravings:
- Eat 5 times a day: if you eat several times a day, and avoid chopping between meals, you will get that when you get to the next meal you will not have a ravenous hunger that would ultimately influence you to eat excessively. You can distribute your meals at breakfast, lunch, lunch, snack and dinner.
- Avoid having unhealthy products at home: if for example you are going to make the purchase, try to have more in your pantry healthy foods like fresh fruit, and avoid buying pastries, cookies and chocolates. It will help you not to eat them, precisely because you will not have them at home.
- Eat slowly: It is essential to give your stomach the time it takes to process food, and send signals to the brain that we are already satisfied. If you eat very fast, however, you will tend to overeat without realizing it, and then you will also feel heavier and more bloated.
- In case of craving ... do it yourself: only in a timely manner, if you can not avoid a craving it is always more advisable to make the dessert yourself than to buy it, since you will know what ingredients you will use in the recipe (it is very common that these are natural, and therefore much healthier).
- Reduce your anxiety and stress: Did you know that when you feel anxiety or stress it is very common for you to use a good roll, cake or eat many chocolates as a de-stressing? The reason we owe especially to the release of ghrelin, a hormone released in the stomach that causes us a terrible desire to eat more.