Pregnancy should be a fun time. It is also a time for odd discoveries. You may find yourself having the oddest cravings like pining after a bottle of ice cold Fanta passion at midnight or roasted maize first thing in the morning. Sometimes the cravings are downright bizarre. The most unusual cravings among pregnant Kenya women are chalk dust, ice, toilet paper and earth. Imagine that.
Usually cravings fall under any of these three categories, sweet, sour or savory. They can remain consistent throughout or they can change week to week. Interestingly only about 10 percent of women crave fruits and vegetables during pregnancy.
If you are hit by that odd craving of chilled sour milk at the middle of the day, relax and indulge yourself. It is normal. In fact, you are in great company. The extreme hormonal changes you experience during pregnancy usually impact heavily on your sense of smell as well as taste. This also explains your aversion to some foods during pregnancy. Culture also affects cravings with pregnant woman craving foods that are regionally and culturally available to them.
Pay attention, however, if you find yourself craving for non-food items like clay, charcoal or soap.
You are suffering from a disorder known as pica which stems from iron deficiency and other dietary needs. Resist the temptation and instead see your medical practitioner. A dangerous aspect of pica is when women crave dirt or clay which they consume unaware of the fact that it contains lead which might lead to a baby being born with a low IQ and impaired motor and hearing skills. Also, do not use medication to manage your cravings unless your medical practitioner advises so.
Some food cravings are also a body’s cry for minerals.
Sometimes, a mum-to-be’s incessant obsession to read meat points at a protein deficiency in the body. If you feel like a particular food item, eat it. It may be just what your body needs. Even if it is unusual, as long as it does not pose a threat to the growing baby it is okay. Just make sure not to overdo it as your body still needs nourishment from a balanced diet. Learn to substitute your cravings with more healthy versions of the same food. Just pay attention, what it is that you really want? Is it the smell, texture, the sweetness, the spices or the coldness of this particular food item that you are craving?