A pregnant woman requires adequate care throughout her term. When such care is not given, it could cause complications like anaemia, gestational diabetes, and miscarriage. Pregnancy comes with a lot of changes such as morning sickness, vomiting during the first trimester and cramps.
Food craving is one of such changes. According to research, 50 to 90 percent of pregnant women experience cravings for particular foods. Chocolate, jam, chicken tikka, pickles, pizza, and seaweed, among others, are foods craved by pregnant women. Some even crave weird things like ice blocks, chalk, and charcoal.
These cravings are caused by the rising levels of hormones in the woman’s body. Most women report that they become restless until the craving is satisfied.
Indulging in cravings can lead to excessive and undesirable weight gain and can also have negative effects on the mother and child. Resisting the cravings is also an uphill task even though you might be better off health-wise if you do not surrender to them. Here are ten ways to handle food cravings.
1. Identify what the cravings are for
Sometimes cravings can be the body’s method of sending a signal it’s lacking essential nutrients. Before you give in to your cravings, identify the nutrients your body wants. Having knowledge of important nutrients like carbohydrates, iron, and protein can help you identify the healthy nutrients in the foods you are craving for. A craving for beef, fish or chicken, for instance, can be a sign that your body needs protein.
2. Incorporate the nutrients into your meal
Swap the cravings with a proper healthy meal which contains the same nutrients. For instance, if you craving fruit pastry, taking fresh fruits still provides you that without the extra calories. If you crave ice cream, take yoghurt which has fewer calories. Your meals should contain a mixture of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
3. Do not skip meals
Ensure that you eat a nutritious breakfast every morning and you won’t see the need to binge on junks or unhealthy snacks. Do not wait until you are hungry before you eat. Pregnant women are expected to eat 4-6 simple but balanced meals a day. Dividing what you would normally have for breakfast, lunch, and dinner into six will help.
4. Drink more water
Not drinking enough water during pregnancy can lead to dehydration. Every pregnant woman is encouraged to take at least 8 cups of water every day. The symptoms of dehydration share certain similarities like low energy levels and sleepiness with those of hunger. Thus, your body might send signals it needs a full red velvet cake when what it needs is a big glass of water. Before stuffing your stomach with unhealthy cravings, drink a cup of water and wait for a few minutes.
5. Moderate your eating
It is healthy to indulge in your cravings occasionally. A little extra sugar or chocolate is not bad once it is controlled. Before you give in to that craving, give yourself a little pep talk. Consider if what you want to consume and the quantity is healthy for your baby. This will give you more control over your cravings.
6. Regular Exercises
Exercising during pregnancy is a good distraction and helps keep your hormones in check. It also prevents emotional eating and cravings. If your cravings are often intense by 12 noon or 5pm, exercise during that hour. You could take a short walk around the neighborhood for a distraction.
7. Take multivitamins
Sometimes during pregnancy, meeting your nutritional needs through food can be hard. It is okay to take a vitamin especially those planned specifically for pregnant women (prenatal vitamins). Self-medication is however not encouraged. Take no supplements without a doctor’s consent. Hire a good travel nurse who will look after you and recommend what to take through your term might be a better option.
8. Get emotional support
Having a friend you can discuss your craving experiences with during this period is great as it helps take your mind off the unhealthy cravings. When you feel the urge to eat a dozen cookies, you can call, text or visit a friend. You could join a network of moms who have experienced pregnancy cravings as they will help you get through it.
9. Do not tempt yourself
Stay away from temptation by emptying your cabinets of junks and unhealthy foods. Surrounding yourself with healthy snacks instead will help you fight your cravings. Also, avoid shopping for groceries on an empty stomach. Eating a snack before going to the market can keep you from snacking at the shopping mall.
10. Take a nap
Resting is a way to overcome fatigue. Sometimes when you are tired, the first thing you reach for is a snack. When you feel the urge to eat such snacks, take a nap. A few hours of rest and nap can renew your energy and stop the craving.
Control your pregnancy cravings and you will have a healthy baby. For help and health care during your term, get in touch with Gifted HealthCare. You deserve nine months of little stress.