Ice cream, chocolate, smoothies, and soft drinks – a lot of the most common pregnancy cravings are for the sweet stuff.
Now, we’re not here to tell you not to treat yourself. You’re an adult, and pregnancy already takes quite a lot of the fun out of the world of food and drink.
But when it comes to craving sweets while pregnant, you can have too much of a good thing.
So here’s the reason behind pregnancy cravings, what they might mean, and tips for fighting off cravings if you’d rather not indulge.
In this article 📝
- Is craving sugar during pregnancy normal?
- What’s the problem with craving sugar during pregnancy?
- Top tips for resisting sweet cravings
- Does craving sweet things mean you’re having a girl?
Is craving sugar during pregnancy normal?
Asking yourself “why am I craving sweets while pregnant?” Craving sugar during pregnancy is normal, but then it’s also normal to crave pickles, or even rubber bands and sponges. You do you, mama.
Even though they’re really common, we’re still not completely sure what causes pregnancy cravings. It’s probably a combination of factors, including:
- Hormones. You might even have experienced this before – a recent study showed that half of all American women crave chocolate before their period.
- Heightened sense of smell. The nose of a bloodhound is a common early pregnancy symptom. Because you’re more sensitive to certain smells, you might have a stronger urge towards what you do (or definitely don’t) want to eat.
- More sensitive gag reflex. Blame the pregnancy nausea for this one. As well as aversions to some smells, you might find yourself grossed out by the texture of the things you used to love.
- Nutrient deficiency. There’s also the idea that our bodies know what they need during pregnancy, so it’s not our desire for something, but our bodies’ need for nutrients it contains that sets off cravings. Although the research on this seems mixed, it’s a neat explanation for some cravings and a good way to remind us that what we put into our bodies should first and foremost be for our nutritional benefit.
And what does craving sweets while pregnant mean specifically?
It’s thought that the need for sweets might be to do with:
- A deficiency in vital minerals like zinc and magnesium.
- Low blood sugar, caused by the extra energy it takes to grow a little human in your uterus.
What’s the problem with craving sugar during pregnancy?
Sugar is not evil, and there’s definitely space for treats as part of a balanced diet.
But having said that, gaining too much weight during pregnancy can cause problems for both babies and mamas-to-be.
And although gestational diabetes is temporary and should go away after you deliver your little one, it does then put you at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.
So how do you resist those sugar cravings to avoid eating sweets ALL the time?
Top tips for resisting sweet cravings
Whether you’re at risk for developing pregnancy complications or you’d just like to eat as well as you can during pregnancy, here’s how to beat the craving for sweets while pregnant:
- Make sure that you’re not deficient in any vitamins or minerals. Ask your doctor about this when you get the results of your pregnancy blood tests, and try to take your prenatal vitamins as regularly as possible, especially in your first trimester.
- Eat slow-release carbs like brown rice, pasta, and bread, and unsweetened oatmeal. If you can avoid sugar crashes, you might be able to avoid some of your more urgent cravings for sweets during pregnancy too.
- End a meal with naturally sweet foods like yogurt or fruit (especially berries and cherries, which are great for stabilizing your blood sugar). Even a little dark chocolate can satisfy a sugar craving as well as a whole lot of ice cream.
Does craving sweet things mean you’re having a girl?
According to the old wives’ tales, it certainly does! Little girls are made of sugar and spice and all things nice, so it makes sense that you would want more sugar to build a little girl.
But we’d take this with a pinch of salt, because the same rumors say that if you look tired and ill, it’s a girl, and you’re radiant, mama.
As for what foods you might crave when pregnant with a boy? The less said the better. Protein and salt, we’ll take. But slugs and snails and puppy dog tails? No thanks.
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