Why do women experience cravings during pregnancy? – Dr Alison Munt
Approximately 80% of women experience some food cravings while pregnant, so you’re not alone! Often patients tell me they feel like sweet or salty food, but sometimes cravings can be extremely specific, like the icing of a sprinkled donut with a side of marshmallows. We don’t know exactly why cravings develop during pregnancy, it may well be related to hormone changes, which can change the way foods taste or smell.
Are food cravings an indication of a vitamin deficiency?
It does sound logical that the pregnant body could be sending us cravings as an alarm that our body is deficient of a specific vitamin, but this is normally not the case. We do check on patient’s vitamin D, iron levels and routine haematology and will advise if any diet changes or supplements are required.
Some tips for managing unhealthy cravings
While it is perfectly fine to indulge in the occasional finger bun craving during your pregnancy, over indulging is still not the healthiest habit. Pregnant women need to try their best to enjoy a good variety of healthy foods, as too much sugar can lead to excessive weight gain.
My top three suggestions for managing cravings are:
- Never go shopping while you’re hungry, you might end up walking out with a trolley full of chicken potato chips
- Eat regular, healthy meals as avoiding getting hungry can prevent strong cravings
- Keep your cupboards stocked with healthy, low GI (glycaemic index) snacks
We know that pregnancy outcomes are improved by being fit and healthy, so maintaining a balanced diet (with treats) and regular exercise is the way to go!
If you have any questions regarding diet, exercise or cravings speak to your obstetrician at your next visit or call our rooms on 08 8272 7755.