There are food cravings…and then there are food cravings during pregnancy. Many pregnant women experience cravings for foods they would otherwise never want, but find impossible to live without once pregnant.
Pickles, ice cream, diet soda – the cravings are different for everyone, but 50 to 80 percent of all pregnant women will experience some sort of craving before their baby arrives.
While food cravings are common and normal for pregnant women, cravings to eat non-food items are not. This appetite for non-food items, such as clay or laundry starch, is known as pica. Eating things not meant as food can seriously harm a mother and her baby.
Another common problem related to cravings is eating more than is healthy while pregnant. Because of this, pregnancy is often the beginning of a life-long struggle to maintain a healthy weight. While pregnant, women need about 300 additional calories each day to meet their own nutritional needs, as well as those of their growing baby.
It is ok to indulge in small portions to the foods you are craving. To combat cravings for unhealthy foods, such as sweet or salty snacks, try finding or creating healthy substitutions
Regardless of whether you have cravings, pregnant women should remember that they are eating for two. Pregnant women are encouraged to have a balanced diet instead of simply doubling the amount of food they eat.