Guest Blog: Craving Nutrition: Eating for Change During Pregnancy


I have been contacted by a sweet lady from Healthline. Healthline is a very informative and user friendly website where you can learn more about medical information and trusted health advice. Here is a very informative and fun article to read written by Leslie Vandever related to the topic of Pregnancy, specifically Cravinggssss🙂 Enjoy


Craving Nutrition: Eating for Change During Pregnancy

By Leslie Vandever

If you’re pregnant and crave certain foods—the famous pickles and ice cream, for instance, or salty corn chips dipped in cottage cheese, or frequent chocolate fixes, or even tasty helpings of steak fat—don’t feel alone. Food cravings during pregnancy are well-known and go with that rapidly rounding belly like cookies go with milk.

Scientists can’t tell us why, exactly. But at least some cravings may originate in the body’s need for specific nutrients. Pica—a craving to eat things that aren’t food, like clay, or coal—seems to come from a need for more iron in the diet. Women who crave ice cream or cottage cheese may just need more calcium. Chocolate is high in magnesium, so a woman whose body is lacking enough of that mineral may make a beeline for the candy machine. Or maybe her blood sugar level is low, so sweets sound good to her.

Or maybe she just loves chocolate.

Because a pregnant woman’s hormone levels fluctuate hugely, there may be an emotional side to cravings, as well. That urgent need for peaches and corn flakes may really be a subconscious need for emotional support, like a warm hug or a listening, empathetic ear.

The thing to remember is that there’s nothing wrong with craving specific foods during pregnancy. It’s an entirely normal phenomenon. Cravings have been noted—and commented upon with everything from humor to earnest seriousness—for hundreds of years. They occur in all cultures all over the world (though the foods that are the subjects of the cravings may differ).

The best way to deal with cravings is to eat a healthy, balanced, varied, and nutritious diet. By paying close attention to what and how you eat, you’ll be able to supply your body with everything it needs to keep both you and your growing infant healthy and strong. You may not have cravings as often.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, “Pregnancy is the one time in your life when your eating habits directly affect another person.”

By eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, cereals, and pastas, low-fat dairy foods, beans, nuts, and legumes, and lean proteins like chicken and, in limited quantities, fish, you’ll give your new baby her best possible start in life. At the same time, you’ll be healthier than ever, gaining only as much weight as necessary.

Your body goes through ginormous change during pregnancy. You gain weight so your body can nurture and grow your baby; your breasts swell and fill with life-giving milk; your uterus stretches to accommodate an infant that will, by the time she’s born, weigh between six and 10 pounds (on average). Your blood volume will also have increased by as much as 60 percent.

For all this necessary and positive change to take place—and to keep you and the baby healthy in the process—you must get the right nutrients in the right quantities. During the second and third trimesters you need to eat an extra 300 healthy calories a day. In addition, some doctors and midwives prescribe or suggest extra vitamins and iron supplements, or recommend that you eat certain foods, like spinach, liver, and citrus fruits.

Keep your food cravings in context and under control. Feeding an occasional yen for butter brickle ice cream won’t hurt you or your baby, but eating a bowl of it every day will cause problems. If nothing else, you’ll gain more weight than you really should, which can be hard to lose after the baby is born.

And, you could try replacing that sugary, fattening ice cream with yogurt topped with fruit and granola, or something else along those lines that’s much more nutritious. Swap carrots for potato chips, or dried apricots for toaster pastries. You get the idea.

You can also curb cravings by getting plenty of sleep and exercise, and by drinking 8 measuring cups of water each day. Distract yourself with a phone conversation, a good TV show, or a good book instead of indulging the craving. Talk with your doctor. Be wise. Cravings are just that: cravings. You don’t have to satisfy them.

 

NewWren

 

Leslie Vandever is a professional journalist and freelance writer with more than 25 years of experience. She craved cottage cheese and corn chips when she was pregnant with her daughter 32 years ago, so she knows that of which she writes. Vandever lives in the foothills of Northern California.

 

 
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