Pregnancy Cravings
Real Or Just A Figment Of Your Imagination

Reviewed by James Brann, MD
Women love to swap stories about pregnancy, especially of funny stories. Sending their husbands out to the convenience store at 2:00 a.m. to get a pint of ice cream and a jar of pickles may sound funny, but are pregnancy cravings really the “baby” or the mommy who desires to eat odd things at odd hours?

Are Pregnancy Cravings Just an Excuse to Eat Like Crap?

Some women claim never to have any cravings, while other confess boldly about having a serious need to binge. But the “eat-whatever-you-want” rule that some women adopt during their pregnancy is actually the body lacking certain nutrition, which sometimes women try to make up for with often very poor choices. Rather than binging on fruit and veggies, most women crave very “complex carb filled” foods or junk food that is often very high in sodium, fat and other things that can become setbacks later.

Not to say that every woman craves pickles and chips, however if you look at the high sodium content of these two things, this could be a clue. One Kosher Dill Pickle has approx. 1,040 mg. of sodium! Many people don’t realize that one serving size in a pickle is only a quarter of the pickle, but how many people do you know that cut a pickle up into four pieces and only eat a portion? Most people eat the whole pickle.

Chips also have a lot of sodium and are easy to overeat on the portion size. Other cravings for complex carbohydrates, such as baked potatoes and gravy, ice cream and similar products are also very full of – you guessed it – sodium.

Is it Salt that Women Crave during Pregnancy?

When a woman is pregnant, she retains more water, so eating more sodium could actually make her put on extra weight that is beyond the targeted zone of 25 lbs. or so, depending on the woman’s body type and size. However, there are theories in the medical world that because your body needs to retain more water, that the cravings could be coming from this sodium/water retention imbalance. Especially during the first trimester, a woman’s increases in progesterone levels can actually make her lose sodium when she urinates, so the possibility that her body wants to replace lost sodium is one theory.
Women who experience morning sickness also suffer from depleted sodium levels. This is understandable, but keep in mind that the “crap” you put in also stores as fat, not just water retention. It might be better to satisfy a salt craving with whole grain crackers, rather than a bag full of chips, for example. You need essential nutrients, and although cravings can be difficult during a time when your hormones are kicking in full gear, it is best to avoid buying foods that are too full of sodium because if you make them available in your household, chances are you will “give in” whenever a weak moment does come.

Or, perhaps you will be one of the lucky women who do not experience any cravings at all! Some women feel an aversion to certain foods, rather than cravings. It is a good idea to listen to your body. These are all signs that you might be lacking a certain nutrient. If you want to, you can get a test at the doctor’s office to see if you are suffering from any deficiencies.


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