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Pregnancy Cravings

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Pregnancy Cravings
Pregnancy cravings are much more common among today's women than in previous generations.

75% of 2,231 expectant mums surveyed, experienced some kind of a craving, compared to just 30% five decades ago. The survey found a third of cravings were not for food but for things like toothpaste, coal, soap, sponges, ice and chocolate!

Unusual Cravings

Ice: 22%
Coal: 17%
Toothpaste: 9%
Sponges: 8%
Mud 7%
Chalk: 6%
Laundry soap: 5%
Matches: 3%
Rubber: 1%

31% of women reported unusual cravings!

Chocolate was the most common food craving, followed by ice cream, sweets, spicy food, pickled onions, tropical fruit, curry, doughnuts, marmite, peanut butter, potatoes and nuts. Mums-to-be reported cravings for odd combinations of food, the most common being pickles and peanut butter, followed by marmite and ice cream. Other weird and wonderful combinations mentioned included tuna and banana, and fried eggs with mint sauce. Apparently, cravings mostly struck in the afternoon (40%) or in the evening (38%), with only 8% sneaking off for midnight snacks.

Pregnant lady scoffing
Fiona Ford, from the University of Sheffield's Centre for Pregnancy Nutrition, said cravings for non-food items - pica - were probably often related to smell and texture, rather than taste. There was scant evidence to support the theory that such cravings helped to satisfy a nutritional deficiency as the body was unlikely to be able to absorb nutrients from items such as coal or mud.

She said: "Ice is a good of satisfying a craving for texture, and a non-toxic way, rather than chewing plaster off the walls, or chewing match heads, or some of the other things we have had. The advice is that is if it is for a non-food item then women should be quite careful and discuss it with their midwife. f it is just for something that has a very strong taste as long as it does not stop you eating a general, varied, healthy diet it does not matter."

Dr Joanne Lunn, a nutrition scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation, said the reasons for pregnancy cravings were not clear.
"These cravings are not usually anything to worry about as long as they are not excessive, and you manage to eat a varied and nutritious diet overall."

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