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Pregnancy food cravings are among the most mysterious pregnancy symptoms. If you feel like your body has been overtaken by an alien too, you may like to find out some more about how these cravings come about and how other women experience them.

You can crave healthy foods

Before you get pregnant, you may think that all food cravings you will have during your nine months will be for pancakes, chips, marshmallows and the like. Magazine articles you may read about being disciplined about not giving into your cravings reinforce this idea. But fortunately, many pregnant women actually crave healthy foods and perhaps even the very foods that your body needs. No, a craving for ice cream does not mean your baby has a sweet tooth (as some old wives' tales say, really!). It may mean you are low on calcium and need a boost, however. There is not currently enough evidence to support theories that pregnancy cravings are linked to nutritional deficiencies, though we do know that non-pregnant women with nutritional deficiencies do not crave the foods that would boost the nutrients they are lacking.

Hormones are to blame for your pregnancy cravings

Morning sickness and a heightened sense of smell are some of the earliest pregnancy signs. These heightened sensitivities are probably connected to the hormone progesterone. This heightened sense of smell and taste may well be linked to pregnancy cravings as well. What's more, eating smaller portions more frequently makes sense during pregnancy. It keeps your blood sugar levels up, and ensures you don't overeat your stomach is squashed out of the way by your growing uterus during the later stages of pregnancy. Pregnancy cravings may ensure that you eat as often as you need to.

Pica

Did you know that some soon to be moms crave things that are not actually food items? This condition also affects people who are not pregnant, and it is called pica. Women who suffer from pica may crave soap, charcoal, bits of foam, clay, and many other things. Ice cravings during pregnancy are also quite common, surprisingly. If this happens to you, don't hide your condition because you are ashamed; it is quite apparent that some of the things women with pica consume can be harmful to them and their unborn baby. Your healthcare provider may have tips on how to cope with pica, and otherwise can refer you to someone with more knowledge of this slightly bizarre problem. You'll have to take action if you crave alcohol or cigarettes too, obviously.

Creating disgusting combinations not a myth!

Pickles and ice cream, anyone? Before I got pregnant with my first baby, I was totally sure that movie portrayals of such insane combinations of foods were completely functional. You may not go for pickles and ice cream, but pregnancy cravings can actually involve weird combinations. If you have the irresistible urge to combine foods that would normally make you vomit when put together? Hey, pregnancy is an exciting time and you will have plenty of opportunity to do things you would not dream of doing in your non-pregnant state. Enjoy those weird combinations, unless one of their ingredients is terribly unhealthy of course. Note: you may also crave single-food things, like the infamous pickles, or cupcakes, or spaghetti. They may even be the same things you have always enjoyed eating.

What are the most common cravings?

Despite the stories you hear about food cravings during pregnancy, fruit is actually the most common pregnancy craving! Research shows that women in their second and third trimester of pregnancy develop more of a taste for both sweet and sour foods, and fruit often takes care of both of these things. Pregnant women have also been shown to avoid bitter tastes much more than people without a fetus on the inside. That's interesting, isn't it? This could perhaps have something to do with avoiding poisonous substances to keep the baby safe.

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