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Food cravings during pregnancy

Have you ever had an unexplained craving for something incredibly salty, a craving that just won’t go away? Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night, thinking that you absolutely, positively must have a pickled onion sandwich with thick, thick butter?

Do your friends think you’re absolutely nuts for eating the same thing over and over and over again?

Well you’re not alone. Research has shown that most women say they craved at least one thing during their pregnancy. For some, it’s something really sweet, for others it’s something spicy. Some women have reported wanting to munch on ice all day, in the middle of winter!

These cravings are mostly perfectly normal and are fine to indulge in. While it’s not recommended that you eat the three chocolate bars that you crave every day, it won’t hurt to limit yourself to, say one bar a day, or even better a few blocks of chocolate.

But why are you having these cravings, when you’ve never, ever eaten pickled onions or copious amounts of haloumi cheese before? It’s believed that the cravings could be attributed to your fluctuating hormones and your growing baby. Your body goes through massive growth spurts when you’re pregnant, requiring more nutrition than usual. If you’re not eating properly, your body sends signals to your brain, telling you that you need certain vitamins – hence the craving.

Wouldn’t it be great if we were craving vegetables that, instead of fattening, unhealthy foods? Some say a craving for chocolate is a sign that you need vitamin B. An unrelenting need to eat meat, biltong or cheese could mean that you need more protein in your diet.

In most cases, craving food is fine, it’s when you want to eat coal, chalk, dirt or ice that you need to speak to your doctor. Relax, you’re not losing your mind (even though you feel like you are) it’s merely a signal that you need more iron in your diet.

Most cravings, whether you’re pregnant or not have a route cause. When you’re pregnant, it’s more likely that your growing baby is sapping all your nutrients and you need to replace them. It could however mean that you just need some form of comfort. If you’ve had a chocolate and you absolutely must have more, take your mind off the craving by going for a walk or phoning a friend.

While you have the luxury of biting into something wicked and telling the world that you can because you’re pregnant, you don’t want to go overboard and spend the next year or two, working those cravings off your hips!

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