Food cravings are a hallmark of pregnancy, and there are different schools of thought about where they actually come from. There may be a number of hypotheses about how these cravings that are specific to pregnancy occur but many of these explanations are hormone-based, which makes sense since several hormones shift significantly during pregnancy.
Cravings haven’t been the focus of many rigorous studies, but some researchers have discovered interesting trends when it comes to pregnant women and food preferences.
I bet most of you who has gone through this pregnancy stage has craved for mangoes too! I am really lucky we have our own mango tree where Daddy Jaze could just go and get me one or two whenever I want to! ❤
I had a serious beef and steak cravings during my pregnancy with Ysha and they say, and I think, it’s the reason why she has a birthmark with a size of a porterhouse on her right leg! 😀
Though there is no direct scientific explanation for that.
Here are some explanations to these cravings during pregnancy:
- Nutrient deficiencies- Some scientists believe women may develop a craving for a food that is high in a certain nutrient if they themselves have a deficiency. For instance, a woman who needs more protein in her diet may get quite the hankering for red meat. Although this theory makes sense, it has not been proven.
- Change in brain activity- It’s known that a pregnant woman may often notice a heightened sense of smell or metallic taste in her mouth, and some scientists believe that changes in brain activity that cause the other taste-interferences may also result in cravings.
- Leptin resistance- Pregnant women are resistant to leptin, a hormone that helps control appetite, so women are naturally more hungry and prone to cravings when they are pregnant.
- Genes- Yes! DNA also play a role here because it partly determines how our taste buds register flavors and our brains perceive them. People respond to bitterness differently based on whether they have a particular variation of genes that shape taste receptors for this flavor.
- Less scientific versions- Many cultures have believed in different explanations for cravings throughout history, but many of these involve spirits, deities, and other not-so-scientific explanations, and are difficult/impossible to prove.
Food cravings are common companion of pregnancy. Indeed, somewhere between 60 to 80 percent of moms-to-be say they have a distinct urge for certain foods while gestating their little ones.
Who didn’t crave for sweets during pregnancy?
But the bottom line is we may never know exactly what causes pregnancy cravings, scientists will surely continue to explore, if only to engineer all cravings to be for broccoli and quinoa. The one thing we can be sure about is that cravings are real — very real.