Gimme, gimme, gimme…
Don’t worry, you’re not alone with your weird and wonderful food cravings… A surprisingly large percentage of moms-to-be crave one food stuff or another during pregnancy.
While some women are lucky enough to crave healthy foods like tomatoes and oranges, unfortunately some women crave women crave sugary treats full of calories such as chocolate, sweets and ice cream which obviously can result in undue weight gain.
Cravings are thought to be due to the rising hormone levels and some women experience craving for this same reason during the second half of their menstrual cycle! There’s really nothing you can do about it. Give in to your desires if you are lucky enough to crave a fruit or veg, but try to resist if you know your craving really isn’t doing you any favours!
A change or alteration in taste is often one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. Even before the first period is missed moms-to-be can notice a strange taste in their mouth or a different taste appreciation of certain foods. The classic taste is metallic, which is often persistent and quite strong.
Other women notice that their tastes change and that whereas previously they had maybe enjoyed coffee or spicy foods, they now taste vile. Changes in taste are not the same as cravings but can be equally strange.
A craving for a food you would not normally eat is called pica. These cravings are usually associated with materials containing iron and used to be very frequent in the past.
There are many stories of women eating soil and coal which can obviously be interpreted as a subconscious desire to obtain iron. The name pica comes from the Latin name for a magpie – a bird with indiscriminate omnivorous eating habits!
True cases of pica today are rare and the condition can be treated by supplements to correct any iron or vitamin deficiency where this is identified.
An appetite for abnormal items like metal (coins, etc) clay, coal, soil, chalk, paper, soap, or ash, or an abnormal appetite for some things like raw food ingredients (e.g., flour, raw potato, raw rice, starch, ice cubes, salt) is considered pica if the craving persists for more than one month. Some items such as ice cubes won't do you any harm, except perhaps to your teeth while other non-food items like clay, coal or soil could harm you and shouldn't be eaten.