Dealing with Pregnancy Food Cravings

Just one cup of mayonnaise, please!!!”

“Try to understand, I will pay you twice the amount; okay, thrice!”
Bola begged the store owner desperately.
Going home without the mayonnaise means trouble. Complaints and a sleepless night await him.
This was usually the last store to shut down on the street. Too late, the owner has packed up and wasn’t about to do otherwise.
Jane, his wife, is pregnant with their first baby, and this is a whole new experience. In the last few weeks, Jane had developed a strong affinity for some kinds of food but cannot stand some others.
Licking only mayonnaise wasn’t one of the things Jane did before her pregnancy. Her sudden overwhelming desire for it was beginning to annoy him. But now, annoyance is nothing compared to all night nagging and restlessness he would have to endure.
If only the store owner would open the door!
Food craving is an intense desire to consume a specific food, and it is different from normal hunger. Several myths, theories, and hypotheses have been proposed to explain it, but none is consistent with the realities. Some explanations are – the mother is eating for two, the body is requesting for particular nutrients like calcium or iron and it’s flooding pregnancy hormones.
Of cause, food craving has useful benefits. It helps increase the appetites of a pregnant woman. Increased appetite is necessary for appropriate weight addition for a healthy pregnancy.
The adverse health effects of food carving is of cause the trouble. Intense craving for unhealthy foods (sweets, soft drinks, ice cream, fries) can lead to uncontrollable weight gain. Such weight gain can result in gestational diabetes and high blood pressure.
Pregnant women must avoid foods that do nothing for them nutritionally or contribute to the development of the baby.
Cravings can be unusual but harmless– party jollof rice, mama-put rice, puff-puff from the corner of the street, garri water, mayonnaise, outrageous amount of pepper, the neighbours’ food etc.
Some cravings are clearly dangerous for example– ash, sand, stone, chalk, dirt etc. These sort of cravings are signs of a disease known as PICA and should not be encouraged by loved ones. It should be reported to the doctors for medical interventions.
No matter how bad your cravings, please stay away from foods with health risk.
Although food cravings during pregnancy are unintentional, it can be managed.

Tips for Managing Pregnancy Cravings  

  • Distract yourself by keeping active- when food cravings begin. Engage yourself by taking a walk (which also helps you keep fit), chat with friends, read a book or do other things you enjoy besides food.
  • Plan healthier already-made meals long before sudden cravings to keep the mind from wondering to unhealthy options.
  • While giving in to your cravings, train your mind to consume little quantity; e.g. a square of chocolate rather than a bar of chocolate, a few balls of puff-puff rather than a bag full, a  scoop of ice-cream rather than a bowl.
  • Try healthy substitutes for unhealthy cravings.
Unhealthy Options Healthy Options
soft drinks, soda, ice cream smoothie, low-fat yoghurt, water with drops of fruit juice
cake, cookies,  pies banana cake made from banana and whole wheat flour
plantain chips, French fries baked plantain chips, roasted plantain (bolie)
doughnut and pastries grilled or roasted chicken


Share your interesting food caving experiences, just for laughs.



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