Pregnancy Food Cravings: The Science Behind It

Pregnancy Food Cravings: The Science Behind It

It's so sweet to see your partner race around midnight looking for the perfect Vienna sausages or ice cream flavor. It's also very convenient to be able to put your desire for unhealthy foods on your partner. Is it possible that your alibi may be a lie?

Let's look at three theories about why pregnant women crave certain foods. Experts will give their opinion on whether you should indulge your fervent appetite.

Hormones can mess with your senses

Jenny Jaque MD, a Los Angeles-based OB/GYN, says, "We don’t know what causes pregnancy cravings." There are many factors, but I think the most important one is hormone changes.

Pregnancy can make your sense of smell more sensitive. We know that expecting mothers can be sensitive to strong-smelling foods, especially in the early stages. Jaque says that women will crave foods that smell and taste better during pregnancy.

While pregnancy cravings can occur at any time, the first trimester of pregnancy is difficult for women who are experiencing nausea and vomiting from rapidly rising hormone levels. Morning sickness can make you feel like you are in the desert. But if you're not, eating pickles, sauerkraut and even lemons could be your new normal. Carolyn Dean MD, ND, a Maui-based nutritionist, and author of The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Women's Health, explains that sour foods can help relieve nausea.

A nutritional deficiency has occurred

It is common to believe that specific food cravings are your body's way to fix an imbalance. You might be craving red meat, for example, because of a lack of iron or protein. Jaque shares that iron is the one mineral pregnant women are deficient in. Your iron levels will become diluted as your blood volume grows during pregnancy.

Jaque says that fried cheese is a good option if you are craving something similar to fried cheese. Your body may crave dairy products to satisfy a need for calcium, which is a vital mineral during pregnancy. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that you have to eat greasy food. Your brain and taste buds are not trying to find a nutrient that you don't need when a glass or two of milk would be better.

This is not surprising, as chocolate is a common craving for pregnant women. Dean says this makes sense because many American women lack magnesium. Dark chocolate contains a large amount of the mineral. It's okay to satisfy your nutritional needs and indulge in sweet treats, as long as the dark chocolate is consumed. A study published in Epidemiology found that preeclampsia, which is dangerously high blood pressure, was 40 percent less common among women who consumed five or more cups of dark chocolate per week.

Enjoying a Two-course Meal

Do you feel like your mother-in law is pushing you to eat seconds now that you have a loaf of bread in the oven? Do you want to be pregnant's "free pass" on food? We hate to say it, but double portions of food for both you and your baby just doesn't work when your little one is as big as a kumquat.

Jaque says, "If your grandmother tells me, 'I ate all the stuff and made my grandpa travel all over the place looking for these things,' then I expect that to happen." There is a lot of evidence to suggest that excessive intakes of calories, sugars, and fats can have a negative impact on your health. Excessive weight gain in pregnancy is a sign of pre-eclampsia, gestational Diabetes, and other complications. Jaque also notes that it can be difficult to lose extra pounds after delivery.

Deciding whether to indulge

A balanced diet and prenatal vitamins with folic acids will ensure you have all the nutrients you need. It may also help to reduce cravings for foods that are low in nutrients. If you have any questions regarding supplements, speak to your healthcare provider. Don't be afraid to eat healthy foods such as fresh fruits, whole grains and vegetables, lean meats, and lean proteins. You should be careful not to consume empty calories or high-calorie fast food.

You will soon get over your cravings for spicy or sweet foods. The second trimester is when cravings are most intense and frequent. They decrease in the third trimester. Once your baby is born, they disappear completely. Prenatal cravings can be managed well beyond your due date. Jaque says that moms can learn how to balance cravings and eat a healthy diet during pregnancy.

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Sizing Chart

Since every baby grows at his/her own pace, measure the baby's height for the best fit. It is much more accurate than going off of the baby's age. Call us with any questions and we will be happy to help you determine the best fit for your baby.

Newborn Onesie's

Size Weight Height
Newborn (NB) 5-8 Ibs. / 2.3-3.6 kg 17-21 in. / 43.2-53.3 cm
0-3M 6-12 Ibs. / 3.6-5.4 kg 21-24 in. / 53.3-61 cm
0-6M Up to 16 Ibs. / Up to 7.3 kg 17-21 in. / 43.2-53.3 cm
3-6M 12-16 Ibs. / 5.4-7.3 kg 24-26 in. / 61-66 cm
3-9M 12-20 Ibs. / 5.4-9.1 kg 24-28 in. / 61-71.1 cm
6-9M 16-20 Ibs. / 7.3-9.1 kg 26-28 in. / 66-71.1 cm
12M 20-24 Ibs. / 9.1-10.9 kg 28-30 in. / 71.1-76.2 cm
18M 24-28 Ibs. / 10.9-12.7 kg 30-32 in. / 76.2-81.3 cm
24M / 2T 28-32 Ibs. / 12.7-14.5 kg 32-34 in. / 81.3-86.4 cm
3T 32-35 Ibs. / 14.5-15.9 kg 34-38 in. / 86.4-96.5 cm
4T 35-39 lbs. / 15.9-17.7 kg 38-40 in. / 96.5-101.6 cm
5T 39-43 lbs. / 17.7-19.5 kg 40-44 in. / 101.6-111.8 cm

Cotton Pajamas

Garments are designed to fit snug for child's safety.

Size Weight Height
6M 12-16 Ibs. / 5.4-7.3 kg 24-27 in. / 61-68.6 cm
12M 16-20 Ibs. / 7.3-9.1 kg 27-30 in. / 68.6-76.2 cm
18M 20-24 Ibs. / 9.1-10.9 kg 30-33 in. / 76.2-83.8 cm
24M / 2T 24-28 Ibs. / 10.9-12.7 kg 33-35 in. / 83.8-88.9 cm
3T 28-32 Ibs. / 12.7-14.5 kg 35-39 in. / 88.9-99.1 cm
4T 32-36 Ibs. / 14.5-16.3 kg 39-42 in. / 99.1-106.7 cm
5T 36-42 Ibs. / 16.3-19.1 kg 42-44 in. / 106.7-111.8 cm


New Balance Boys

17-19 inches
39-41 inches
19-20 inches
41-45 inches
20-22 inches
45-46 inches
22-23 inches
47-50 inches
23-24 inches
50-54 inches
24-25 inches
54-58 inches
25-27 inches
58-62 inches
27-28 inches
62-67 inches


New Balance Girls

Size Waist Height
4 17-19 inches 39-41 inches
5 19-20 inches 41-45 inches
6 20-21 inches 45-46 inches
6x 21-22 inches 46-48 inches
7/8 22-23 inches 48-52 inches
10/12 23-25 inches 52-58 inches
14 25-27 inches 58-61 inches
16 27-29 inches 61-63 inches