Is there a reason why food cravings happen during a pregnancy?

July 23, 2012 1:48 PM by

You've probably heard plenty of stories about pregnant women making their husbands go to the grocery store to pick up some totally weird foods. It turns out that plenty of women (about half) experience changes in taste or sudden cravings during a pregnancy. But what's responsible for these out-there food preferences?

Well, scientists don't really know for sure why some women start craving cheese sandwiches or give up a longtime love of steak. However, there are a few theories as to why women feel the need to indulge in specific foods when they're pregnant.

Hormones, again
Hormones are responsible for all kinds of changes in your body during pregnancy, so who's to say they don't play a factor in food cravings too? The effects on your senses of taste and smell might be to blame – making certain foods particularly attractive and others downright disgusting.

Your body needs it
Some medical experts think that women experience cravings because their bodies need certain vitamins and minerals. For example, if you're jonesing for a juicy hamburger, you might be lacking protein, while a longing for peaches could mean your body could use more beta carotene. However, this theory hasn't been proven yet.

You're more in tune with your senses
Perhaps one reason why you might have cravings for specific foods is because you're especially in tune with your body. During pregnancy, you may be paying closer attention to each and every stimulus you experience, whether it's through touch, taste or smell. This could lead to a desire for foods that will satisfy your senses, like crunchy chips or cool lemonade.

Cultural phenomenon
Then again, maybe pregnancy cravings are simply a cultural phenomenon. After hearing other women experience strange cravings, you might start thinking that a simple desire for a cupcake is related to your pregnancy – not just your sweet tooth.

Subconsciously, you may be thinking that you're supposed to be having cravings, which could make you indulge food wants that wouldn't usually be satisfied in normal circumstances. It's thinking along the lines of, hey, I'm pregnant – why shouldn't I want pizza in the middle of the night?

No matter the reason for pregnancy cravings, it's undeniable that women have them. However, if you haven't noticed any particular changes in your food tastes as of late, not to worry. Plenty of women don't experience weird food desires.

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