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May 29, 2017 OHIOHEALTH
The Truth Behind What Pregnancy Cravings Are
Understanding the common causes of your pregnancy cravings

Cravings are one of the most well-known side effects of pregnancy. People often joke about the weird things pregnant women eat during that nine months but is there actually a reason behind it? Before you dip that pickle into chocolate, here’s what you should know.

How do Hormones Affect Food Cravings?

The hormones that your body creates during pregnancy are partially to blame for both cravings and food aversions. Leptin, which reduces appetite and stimulates metabolism, reduces in production, while neuropeptide Y, an appetite stimulant, increases. This is especially true during your first trimester when your body is changing rapidly. After the fourth month of pregnancy, you may notice your cravings diminish.

Curbing Your Cravings During Pregnancy

The important thing to note is that moderation is the key when giving in to your pregnancy cravings. For example, if you really want a candy bar, go with a fun-size option instead of the king-size package. This way you’re still satisfied instead of overindulging. If you find that doesn’t work for you, consider finding a distraction to keep your mind off of whatever unhealthy food you might be yearning for.

Tips to Curb Your Pregnancy Cravings:

  • Read a chapter of a book
  • Call a friend or family member
  • Go for a walk and get some fresh air
  • Catch up on some household chores

If you do find yourself giving in to an especially unhealthy craving, don’t stress. Instead, make sure you eat healthy the rest of the day. It’s similar to maintaining a normal diet – it’s okay to indulge sometimes.

Strange Cravings While Pregnant – What is Pica?

Some women experience pica during pregnancy, which means they are craving strange, non-food items like dirt or ashes. Oftentimes this is a sign of an iron deficiency or low levels of another nutrient, so you’ll want to speak with your doctor right away to address this.

Want to learn more pregnancy tips? Get all of our best advice here!

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