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Thinkstockphotos 479850602 Pregnancy Craving

Pregnancy Cravings: What Do They Mean?

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Pregnancy cravings - those seemingly insatiable longings for foods that you might never otherwise even dream of eating!

But what's behind these weird hankerings and can they ever be harmful?

We don’t know exactly what causes food cravings, but they may be related to all the hormones that are active in pregnancy. These hormones can make your sense of smell stronger, which can affect your sense of taste and make you want certain foods.

It's not that the body actually needs the specific food you are craving, but it may need something in that food. And your taste buds just interpret it as a craving for something specific. For example, a craving for milk might mean you need calcium or a craving for fruit may signal a need for vitamin C.

The high hormone levels present during pregnancy can also alter both a woman's sense of taste and smell. So certain foods and odors can not only be more enticing, but in some cases more unpleasant, a problem that often plays out as a pregnancy food aversion.

There is a cause for concern when food cravings replace good nutrition. For example, a woman will fill up on the foods she craves and skip the nutritious foods her body and her baby really need.

Additionally, some pregnant women crave things that aren’t food. This kind of eating problem is called pica. Eating nonfoods during pregnancy can cause problems for you and your baby.

Nonfoods can include:

  • Ice
  • Clay
  • Laundry starch
  • Wax
  • Coffee grounds
  • Dirt

If you crave nonfoods or have any other questions regarding your pregnancy, contact your healthcare provider.

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