Shaken Baby Syndrome

A large number of child deaths are reported in South Africa each year. A lot of deaths relate to neglect, abuse or murder. Despite this, there's a knowledge gap in relation to understanding the issue....

Amniotic fluid problems

The importance of amniotic fluid Amniotic fluid is essential for pregnancy and foetal development. Amniotic fluid is a watery substances residing inside a casing called the amniotic membrane or sac. ...

Choosing a pre-school

Becoming a parent is a momentous; life-changing event filled with hopes, expectations and naturally some fears. Parents often learn and grow alongside their children, as they face the challenges of pa...

Newborn reflexes

Although newborn babies are physically helpless and vulnerable at birth, they have a number of amazing innate abilities or reflexes. Reflexes are involuntary movements or actions, designed to protect ...

Mastitis

Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast that can lead to infection. The word “mastitis” is derived from the Greek word “mastos” meaning “breasts”, while the suffix “-itis” denotes “inflammation”. Ma...

Pelvic floor exercises

Although your new baby will probably bring you immense emotional satisfaction, physically you may feel uncomfortable and strange in your own skin. After 9 months of pregnancy and hormonal changes, you...

Colic

Babies cry because they need to communicate something and most parents, especially new moms, find it distressing to see or hear an unhappy baby. In time, you will learn to recognize the various causes...

Antenatal Classes

Antenatal classes are informative sessions provided to prepare expecting parents for the birth of their child and the early days of being a parent.Most antenatal classes are run by Midwives and occasi...

Strap-in-the-Future

The Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 was launched on the 11 May 2011. It is a global declaration of war against road crashes and fatalities. According to Mr Sibusiso Ndebele, MP Minister of ...

  • Shaken Baby Syndrome

    Tuesday, 21 July 2015 16:28
  • Amniotic fluid problems

    Thursday, 14 May 2015 12:54
  • Choosing a pre-school

    Friday, 10 April 2015 17:50
  • Newborn reflexes

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:49
  • Mastitis

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:41
  • Pelvic floor exercises

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:20
  • Colic

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:11
  • Antenatal Classes

    Monday, 03 June 2013 09:34
  • Strap-in-the-Future

    Thursday, 30 June 2011 13:52

Cravings during Pregnancy

Cravings during pregnancyDuring pregnancy many interesting changes happen to one's body. One of the most common things to happen is the development of intense cravings or aversions to the taste, smell or texture of certain foods. Why this happens is still a matter of debate.

Food cravings or aversions are a worldwide phenomenon that women have experienced throughout history. Some researchers feel it is a behavioural or psychological phenomenon, others feel it is a dietary deficiency and others feel they are due to hormonal changes. It continues to be a matter of speculation.

Cultural beliefs are very influential on cravings and aversions. Some cultures believe that if a craving is not satisfied then the baby will be born with a mark that resembles the craving. Other cultures avoid certain foods; in Japan a pregnant woman will not eat shrimps as her baby may be born with a curved back.

Hormonal changes during pregnancy are believed to affect the sense of smell, the sense of taste as well as the texture of the food, making some foods more appealing than others. Often this is a good thing as pregnant women are commonly nauseated by the smell of cigarette smoke or they can't tolerate coffee and alcohol anymore. This ties in with the belief that aversions are a protective mechanism, protecting the developing foetus from potentially harmful substances. However, one of the most commonly reported aversions is to the smell of meat. The answer to why this happens is not known as meat is generally considered to be a healthy protein, benefiting the developing baby.

During the first trimester there can be an increased sensitivity to bitter tastes. This sensitivity lessens by the third trimester as threat to foetal development passes. The craving for sour foods seems to be most common in the third trimester.

Dietary needs or deficiencies are the most commonly believed cause of cravings. When a women is pregnant her calorie needs increase, however she may be nauseous due to hormonal changes, therefore salty, sweet, spicy and sour foods are more appealing resulting in a better calorie intake and a healthier pregnancy.

Healthy food cravings are commonly fruit, which is a good combination of sweet and sour tastes, as well as milk and milk products. Other common cravings are for chocolate and salty/sour snacks like pickles.

A perculiar craving that can occur during pregnancy is known as Pica. This is a craving for things that aren't food. The word Pica comes from the Latin for Magpie, a bird that is known for being quite indiscriminate when it comes to food. Pica cravings are believed to be due to a mineral deficiency as the most common craving is for clay, dirt and ice. Eating ice has been associated with iron deficiencies. Iron deficient people have tongue irritations which are soothed by ice. Once the deficiency has been rectified, the craving disappears.

Most cravings are harmless. It is important however not to overindulge in these cravings as they could adversely affect your health. Too much of anything will cause you to gain too much weight, too much salt can raise your blood pressure, too much sugar could cause gestational diabetes. When indulging in a craving keep the quantity small and the quality good.

Many researchers believe that a pregnant woman's cravings are psychological, and influenced or triggered by hearing about the cravings of others. Could this mean that many pregnant women in Great Britain will be craving Lavender Shortbread just like Princess Kate?

References:
Birth Traditions and Modern Pregnancy Care, Jacqueline Vincent Priya, Element Books 1992
Anna Graves www.bu.edu/synapse/2010/07/28/the-mystery-of-pregnancy-cravings/
archive.unu.edu/unupress/food/v191e/