You’ve heard of the common pregnancy cravings, such as chocolate and gherkins, but do you know why you might crave these things?
PLEASE NOTE: Dr Penman is not a specialist in nutrition, and this blog post is for information only. If you are concerned about your nutrition during pregnancy and the effect it may have on you and your baby, please contact your GP who will be able to refer you to the right specialist.
Chocolate is high on this list of pregnancy cravings. There are many theories as to why you might be craving chocolate now you’re pregnant – from the more likely signal of a missing nutrient in your diet (chocolate is high in magnesium) to the more outlandish idea that it means you’re having a girl. Some research even claims pregnant women use ‘craving’ chocolate as an excuse to indulge.
Whatever your reasons for craving chocolate, remember to indulge in moderation as a healthy diet helps your baby to be healthy. The NICE provide helpful guidelines on how to stay healthy and active during your pregnancy.
Another common craving in pregnancy is for gherkins. Unusual perhaps, before you consider the reason behind it. Many women experience nausea and/or vomiting in early pregnancy which can, in some cases, continue to mid- or even late pregnancy. Salty foods such as gherkins can help curb nausea- or vomiting-induced dehydration by stimulating the need to drink. Additionally, the high carbohydrate content in some salted foods, such as pretzels and crisps, can help settle your stomach by coating it and giving the stomach acids something to work with.
Spicy food is another favourite among expectant ladies – hot curries, jalapeño peppers straight from the jar, even extra hot sauce with your hot dog. Women often experience a heightened sense of smell and taste during pregnancy, which may explain why an extra helping of fragrant spices hold such an appeal.
Craving fizzy drinks? You’re not alone. Along with craving salty foods to curb pregnancy nausea, some ladies find the bubbles and sugar in fizzy drinks help as well. Additionally, you may feel warmer than usual in pregnancy (more on this below) and craving an ice-cold Cola may well be the body’s way of simply cooling down!
Finally, ice cream is another common pregnancy craving that’s unlikely to raise eyebrows. Craving ice cream can be the body’s way to signal the need for more calcium, or, just like craving chocolate, an excuse to indulge! However, there is some truth behind craving ice cream as the body’s way to cool down – in early pregnancy, women can experience a higher-than-usual basal body temperature (your temperature at rest) due to pregnancy-related hormones. Later on in pregnancy, when the body adjusts to this new hormone level, feeling warmer than usual can be attributed to higher blood volume (up to 50% more than before pregnancy).
Your temperature in pregnancy can rise by 0.4-0.8C. However, if it rises to above 38C, you must seek medical advice, as this can be a sign of something more serious.