Pregnancy cravings out of control? Here’s what you MUST know to contain them
Published on:6 September 2021, 10:53am IST
Some women experience uncontrollable pregnancy cravings. But here’s what you need to know in order to keep them in check!
Every meal you eat is an opportunity to nourish your body. That’s exactly why we must always make food choices that uplift us, especially when it comes to satiating your pregnancy cravings. Concentrating on the nutritional aspect is also important. It is often said that ‘you are what you eat’, and it holds true in every way. Eating well is not about cooking fancy dishes or masterpieces. It is all about eating food that is made from the freshest of ingredients.
During pregnancy, eating healthy and in the right amount, can benefit the growing foetus. Due to hormonal changes and depletion of a neurotransmitter called dopamine, pregnant women experience mood swings and depression. This makes an expectant mother eat more or crave for more feel-good foods, which might lead to weight gain and other complications during pregnancy.
PICA is an unusual behaviour by a pregnant woman, wherein she feels like eating something peculiar; these are also called pregnancy cravings. The reason behind these unusual cravings might be due to hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies or increased sense of smell and taste during pregnancy. Sometimes, pregnant women also crave non-food substances like ice chips, dirt, laundry soap, starch, clay, cigarette ashes, chalk, antacids, paint chips, plaster, wax, and other substances. These can be very harmful due to toxicity or blockage concerns. So, they should be informed of the dangers of eating that particular substance.
Pregnancy cravings can start as early as 4-5 weeks of the 1st trimester, and reach their peak during the second trimester. Nonetheless, they can occur anytime during pregnancy. So, this sudden change in the maternal food habits during pregnancy should be monitored well, as this will have a greater impact on her health and also on her child’s growth and development.
Healthy eating tips
Small frequent meals to avoid sudden feelings of hungriness.
Ensure your kitchen store has healthy snacks.
Do not eat, according to mood.
Always prefer low calorie, fibre dense and snacks to keep you full for a longer time.
Get good sleep, as stress leads to hormonal imbalance.
If you have the urge to eat sweets and chocolates, try eating fruits, dry fruits, and dark chocolate;
Ditch chips and nosh on homemade khakra and unsalted popcorn;
Do away with sour cream or ice-cream, and indulge in homemade yoghurts with fresh fruits or sugar-free sorbet;
Swap salt and salty foods with healthy herbs;
Say no to packed juices and soft drinks, and go for fresh fruit juices and tender coconut water;
Try homemade low-fat and low-salt pickles, instead of store-bought salted pickles;
Use lemon instead of tamarind;
Drink herbal teas/jeera water, instead of coffee/tea.
Here’s what you must avoid:
Craving non-food substances might lead to many complications like premature birth, spontaneous abortion and neuro-developmental deficits in the growing fetus. The harmful effects of these substances are sometimes very lethal. Hence, pregnant women need to be educated about the cravings and its effects on both mother and the fetus.