Pregnancy Articles

The Mystery of Food Cravings & Aversions

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Your desire for certain foods may increase during pregnancy. There is no evidence that food cravings are the result of nutritional deficiencies, and the cause of food cravings is still a mystery. Some feel it may be a hormonal or emotional response. Some common food cravings include chocolate, sweets, citrus fruits and juice, cheese, and grain products. If the food you crave is nutritious, there is no harm in satisfying the craving within reason. If the food you are craving is in the "nice but not necessary" category, such as sweets, cookies, cakes, or chips, try eating it small amounts along with a healthy meal or snack.

Food Aversions
Food aversions are the opposite of food cravings. Foods that you had once eaten and enjoyed before pregnancy might now be a major turn-off. If the food you can no longer tolerate is a nutritious food, try to substitute another similar food from that same food group so you do not miss out on important nutrients. If oranges now make you queasy, try strawberries, kiwis, green peppers, or tomatoes. They are all excellent sources of Vitamin C. If cooked carrots bring on the gag reflex, try them in a different form or hide them in another dish. Eat them raw with a dip, on a salad, in vegetable soup or vegetarian lasagna.

Some pregnant women have cravings to eat unusual food items or non-food items, such as clay, dirt, cornstarch, flour, laundry starch, plaster, or cigarette ashes. This is called pica. Eating these items can be dangerous to both the mother and the baby, or interfere with adequate nutrient intake. If you experience these types of cravings, discuss it with your healthcare provider.
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About The Author

Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. She teaches prenatal classes and counsels individuals, helping women eat right and stay fit before, during and after their pregnancies.
Becky Hand

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