Are you wondering when food cravings start in pregnancy and what it indicates? Not to worry, in this article, we would show you when it starts, when it reaches its peak then starts to decline, and what it indicates.
First things first, pregnancy, a term that explains the period in which a fetus develops in the womb or uterus of a woman is usually accompanied by a whole lot of changes. It lasts for about 40 weeks. As a result, it has three phases or trimesters. The first trimester runs from the 1st week to the 12th week, the second trimester runs from the 13th week to the 27th week, and finally, the third trimester runs from the 28th week till delivery.
However, you should know that every phase has its peculiarities. During the first trimester, the fertilized egg begins to develop working organs, eyes, and ears. Consequently, this causes nausea, vomiting, fatigue, backaches, cramps, frequent urination, heartburn, increased sense of smell, and majorly food cravings.
Therefore, food cravings are not harmful or abnormal during pregnancy. What is important is making sure you eat a healthy and balanced diet that will aid the development of the fetus and the mother during and after the pregnancy. As you read on, we would explain in detail about food cravings, also known as pregnancy cravings.
What Are Food Cravings?
Food craving or selective hunger refers to a strong desire to consume a particular type of food at a particular time. They are usually sudden urges triggered by the brain because of hormonal responses received by it. This is a major characteristic exhibited by pregnant women. Sometimes, cravings are for foods like chocolate, chips, salty or spicy foods, fruits, or even foods that were not hitherto eaten before pregnancy.
Also, pregnancy has a way of changing things including diet. This majorly affects the sense of comfort or satisfaction gotten from certain foods during pregnancy. However, there is no known specific cause of food cravings during pregnancy. Most women have attributed it to some of these reasons:
• Changing hormones- progesterone, a pregnancy hormone makes you feel hungrier
• Specific tastes
• Flavor combinations
• Nutritional deficiencies
• The comfort derived from food
• Underlying sickness or diseases like anemia or heartburn.
• Cultural influences
Therefore, responses to food cravings have not been static. Most women give in easily to food cravings during pregnancy. This goes a long way to affect both the child and the mother.
Food cravings could be an indication of nutritional deficiencies. For instance, a craving for pickles is an indication of strong iron deficiency in the mother. These foods trigger haywire appetites at various times.
This is a contradiction of food cravings. It refers to the dislike of foods that were eaten before by a mother during pregnancy. It is majorly common with red meat, sushi, and carbs. A pregnant woman may develop nausea and vomit as a result of food aversions.
This is not a strange phenomenon as it occurs in 90% of pregnant women. Some women get food preferences to tea, coffee, eggs, and fried foods that their favorite foods and drinks are suddenly unappetizing and enticing to them.
You should also know that food cravings and aversion can be influenced by heredity. For instance, if your mother craved spicy or salty foods, there is a high tendency that you would do the same.
When Does Food Cravings Start During Pregnancy?
Food cravings start as early as two to five weeks into the first trimester of pregnancy. It is characterized by a rapid change in appetite. Also, it gets stronger in the second trimester and starts to decline in the third trimester.
Food cravings come in various degrees, shapes, types, and sizes and there is no sign-for-all experience. This is because humans are unique in their way. These cravings do not just occur, they are usually triggered by factors like fatigue, heartburn, cramping, increased sense of smell, vomiting, and nausea.
Types Of Food Cravings During Pregnancy and What They Indicate
Here are some examples of the foods craved for during pregnancy and their indications:
1. Sweet drops or Sugar like ice cream, popcorn, potato chips indicate gestational diabetes
2. Ice- indicates inflammation in the tongue or mouth and anemia
3. Chocolate- indicates a deficiency of magnesium
4. Red Meat- indicates a deficiency of protein and Iron
5. Beans and Carbs- indicates a need for magnesium
6. Salty foods- indicates a need for sodium or more water
7. Pizza and Cheese- indicates a deficiency in fatty acid
You should know those food cravings are personal and can sometimes be very funny. So, you need to handle it carefully.
Can Food Cravings Become Harmful?
Food cravings can become harmful if it is targeted at harmful foods like dirt, chalk, soap, drugs, alcohol, and other non-food items. Consequently, it important to see your doctor about it.
Additionally, it could a symptom of Pica, a term used to describe a potentially poisonous and critical condition.
Healthy Replacements for Some Food Cravings During Pregnancy
The following are healthy foods that can be used to replace unhealthy cravings when pregnant:
1. Vitamin C, beans, lean meats, and dried fruit can be used to replace red meat
2. Fish and nuts like groundnut or cashew nut can be used to replace chocolate
3. Water can be used to replace salty foods
4. Walnut and fish can be used to replace cheese or pizza
5. Fruits and vegetables can be used to replace sugar or sweet drops and ice creams.
Tips on How to Handle Food Cravings During Pregnancy
Handling food cravings during pregnancy can be quite difficult but it is possible. Here are some of the ways it can be handled:
1. Avoid unhealthy foods if that is what you are craving. It can adversely affect your health and that of the baby.
2. Carry out visual and engaging tasks like playing video games or drawing. This can help take your mind off food cravings for a while.
3. Increase the intake of fiber-rich diets and lean protein. This has the potential of curtailing your appetite.
4. Get plenty of sleep. This will go a long to relax your hormones and maintain balance at all times
5. Avoid undercooked meat, raw eggs, and sushi. These foods can cause bacteria and warm growth. Consequently, causing food cravings.
6. Stock up your kitchen with healthy foods and snacks
Having discussed food cravings during pregnancy and what they indicate, it is important that you deliberately avoid high salt, excess fat, and foods with high carbohydrate content. A steady intake of these foods can lead to excessive weight gain, gestational diabetes, and complications that can last after the birth of your baby. So, ensure you are always conscious of what you eat. Also, If it becomes excessive or overwhelming, do well to seek advice from your doctor.
Finally, food cravings do not kill, they only last for a while and vanish when you don’t give in to them. You can always overcome them.
3 Professional Tips For Successful Pregnancy After Two Miscarriages
Have you had several miscarriages, or you have lost hope of conceiving again, then this article will lighten you up, and help you get pregnant conveniently, and avoid frequent miscarriages.
Recurrent miscarriage can be your worst nightmare and experience, it invites fear, anxiety, and pains, but don’t give up on your motherhood dreams, the excitement that comes from being a mother has always been blissful. So cheer up because in this article you will find useful tips on how to plan a healthy pregnancy and stay safe without the fear of losing your baby.
ALSO, READ 18 REASONS YOU ARE NOT GETTING PREGNANT
COMMON CAUSES OF MISCARRIAGE
Miscarriage is the death of an embryo that occurs spontaneously before the 20th week of pregnancy. According to research, close to 10 to 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Chromosomal abnormality in the developing embryo is the commonest cause of miscarriage. Health conditions like uncontrolled diabetes or problems with the cervix or uterus can also cause miscarriage.
Miscarriage normally takes place once, and the majority easily conceive after it. A study shows that below 5% of women have two consecutive miscarriages, and only 1% of women have three or more consecutive miscarriages. It simply means that there is a high 75% chance to conceive again. After three miscarriages, there are still 65% chances of getting pregnant again without the fear of miscarriage.
Some major causes include:
⭐ Hormonal imbalance
⭐ Thyroid disorder
⭐ Physical complication
⭐ Immunological disorder & chronic illness
⭐Use of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco during pregnancy. etc.
These are some of the major causes of miscarriages in women, some are caused by the activities you engage in or things you consume that could cause alterations, while others are as a result of the reactions or disorders in the body.
USEFUL TIPS TO PLAN A SUCCESSFUL PREGNANCY AFTER TWO MISCARRIAGES
1.Take a break
Miscarriage can cause a very deep feeling of loss, and internal pains both emotionally and physically. It’s painful to think that the baby you have been preparing for is no more, taking a break will help you recover from the shock emotionally and physically.
For conception to take place your entire body system must function properly so that you have a healthy and safe pregnancy. It is advisable you wait for two months or more before trying to get pregnant again. If you had a late miscarriage then you should wait for 6months or more before conceiving again, if you are 35 years or above, then you need to try soon because time is no longer on your side, waiting will not do you any good.
After the miscarriage, the body is still weak and unstable, the uterus needs some time to be strong again and ready to nurture the embryo. It takes time for the lining of the endometrium to become healthy and strong again after a miscarriage.
If the body is not yet fit for conception then another miscarriage might spring up. Doctors usually advise that women should wait for some months before planning another pregnancy in order to have a safe and healthy pregnancy.
Taking a good decision and having a health plan to ensure your next pregnancy is safe aids your baby’s development and growth. You can take some folic acid supplements and prenatal vitamins some months before conception. Your weight should also be in check, excess weight affects conception and pregnancy, ensure to include physical activities in your day-to-day routine. Consume a healthy diet and reduce the quantity of caffeine intake, avoid drugs, smoking, drinking, and do not be exposed to radiations and stress.
3.Consult a medical Gynecologist
After a miscarriage or series of miscarriages consult a gynecologist, to give you medical guidelines on how to plan for a safe pregnancy and also recommend some tests to identify any health challenge that may cause further complications in the future. You may be placed under medication to prepare the body for conception and avoid further miscarriages.
CRITICAL DIAGNOSTIC TESTS
Here are some tests a doctor will recommend to detect any disorder or imbalance before trying to conceive again.
A blood test will indicate if there is an underlying problem with the immune system or the hormonal balance in your body.
Couples should undergo this test. It helps to detect any chromosomal abnormalities, that may cause a miscarriage.
An ultrasound test makes use of sound waves to produce images of the internal organs. The doctor may recommend an abdominal scan to get the images of the uterus.
Hysteroscopy is a test whereby the doctor inserts a small telescope, through the cervix into the uterus. He examines the openings of the Fallopian tubes and the wall of the uterus to check for any underlying effects or alterations.
During this test, a doctor injects fluid into the uterus through the cervix. It’ll enable him to identify any issue in the lining of the uterus.
The outcome of your test results determines the medical advice and treatment that will be given by your doctor to ensure that your next pregnancy is safe and healthy. You can always have a safe and healthy pregnancy if you are in a state of peak health and a sound mind.
ALSO, READ PREGNANCY AT AGE 50; IS IT ADVICEABLE?
18 REASONS YOU ARE NOT GETTING PREGNANT
To an extent, the sight of pregnant women and babies on screen and in your neighborhood could even Intensify your cravings to become pregnant (usually as a married person). You are ready to conceive or give birth and pregnancy is not forthcoming, it becomes something to worry about, and finding the cause and possible solution is paramount. The joy of motherhood, conceiving and carrying your own baby, is what almost every woman craves.
There are many reasons why a woman of reproductive age would find it difficult to get pregnant. These reasons differ among individuals, depending on your body mechanism. Apparently, most people don’t get pregnant at their first attempt. Whether this is your first attempt at conceiving or you’re beginning to count months of futile efforts, be aware that there are some infertility mysteries that could cause havoc to pregnancy. Below are some that may be stopping you from getting pregnant.
This can be as a result of undue pressure on the body which then causes internal tension. Stress causes the body to wear out. You burn out a lot of energy that could mediate the hormones in the body to be very active and perform their various functions in the body, both sexually and metabolically. It affects you emotionally, mentally, and physically, you can’t function under stress, your body too. Conception requires stability, for proper hormonal activities to take place.
“When you’re stressed, your adrenal system takes a hit. Your body isn’t going to say, ‘Okay, let’s get pregnant.’ Learning to say no and to take time for yourself is important for improving your chances of having a baby.” Says Via Bitidis, co-director of the North Toronto Naturopathic Clinic. The naturopathic doctor opines that balance and calm are a crucial part of trying to conceive.
Megan Karnis, medical director of The ONE Fertility Clinic in Burlington, Ont., agrees with a word of caution: “A lot of women think the best thing to do when you’re stressed is to take time off work. In my experience, that doesn’t help, because it makes a woman feel she has to get pregnant in that time, and then the stress to get pregnant is so much higher,” she says. Instead of altering your day-to-day routine entirely, Karnis recommends counseling, art therapy, meditation, and exercise to reduce stress levels.
2. Lack of Sleep
Sleep is the state of reduced consciousness during which a human or animal rests in a daily rhythm. It’s also an act of total body shut down for adequate rest. Inadequate sleep delays menstruation as a result of induced stress and will also alter your ovulation.
Some chemical substances stimulate sleep. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that stimulates sleep response, and if this is missing one could find it difficult to sleep well. Lack of sleep (or its inadequacy) induces stress which affects and weakens the immune system. This reduces the strength of the immune system to release antigens and antibodies that fight against infection or other foreign bodies that invade the body. It also limits the chances of getting pregnant.
Karnis adds that “This applies to men as well. Infections can cause fever and that excess heat can damage the sperm temporarily.” Furthermore, she said, “Women who don’t get enough sleep can also start to feel anxious, which may cause missed periods.”
Keeping yourself healthy is the baby bottom line, so set the PVR to record Mad Men and enforce a new bedtime.
3. Unstable Cycle
“A lot of women don’t understand their own cycles,” says Bitidis. Most people were taught the normal 28-day cycle in high school, but women are different and cycles differ in duration. You will find it easier to conceive if you observe your ovulation and have sex at the right time.
“We teach women that ovulation is two weeks before your period. Most people think that it’s two weeks after, but that’s only if you have a four-week cycle. The biggest thing is timing.
“We also teach people about sperm life—they can live for three days in the cervix, so you don’t have to have sex on the day of ovulation, it could be the day before. We also find that a lot of people don’t know that lubricant decreases sperm motility and transfer, so you shouldn’t use lubricant when you’re trying to get pregnant,” says Karnis.
4. Weight Problem
Weight can actually affect conception. Underweight or overweight individuals find it pretty difficult to get pregnant. “An undernourished body can cause a change in ovulation and alter ovulation.” Says Bitidis. “In the same vein, too much weight can have a great effect on fertility.”
“Just being over your ideal weight decreases your chance of getting pregnant even if you are ovulating regularly.” Says Karnis. “The further you stay above 25 on the Body Mass Index, the worse it gets,” Bitidis adds that maintaining a healthy diet and developing a reasonable exercise routine will do wonders for both your mind and body.
Planning for pregnancy in a year’s time might be a good decision if you’re preparing to raise a family soon. It could help you adjust your lifestyle. If you want to try it out now, note that it can take time. Experts say it takes up to a year to get pregnant, but If you are worried that it’s been long enough, speak to your healthcare personnel about your alternatives, for fertility counseling and treatment.
There are people who struggled and battled with pregnancy, but they eventually conceived when they calmed down and allowed it to come on its thought. Just have a positive thought, relax, and conception will take place. Most times pregnancy occurs when you least expect it, be sure to worry less.
If you want to have sex, do it right and the right number of times. Dr. Curtis recommends having intercourse every day or every other day during your most fertile period. Try to know your most fertile period and stick to it, more than that could exhaust your spouse’s sperm count. Less than that and you may miss that crucial fertility timing.
6. You Are Too Preoccupied
No matter what you do, pregnancy cannot be planned. Lots of women take about six months or more to have a regular cycle after they quit contraceptives. Ovulation would likely not take place until the cycle is normal or regular.
Pro Tip: Take some months to study and monitor your cycle, and note your ovulation. If there’s no ovulation, then seek medical attention. Conception becomes easier when you know your cycle.
ALSO, READ Ovulation Symptoms: 7 Signs of Ovulation
7. You Depend On the “Good Enough” Idea.
Thinking you are “good enough” will not help you get pregnant.
Can you monitor and understand your ovulation? It will be difficult to conceive if you can’t because some women have their ovulation in their mid-cycle. Cycles are peculiar to every woman. Some have 21 days, 28 days, and others as far as 31.
A lot of women ovulate 14 days before their periods, for instance, if you have a 24-day cycle, ovulation would be within day 10. If you have irregular periods or you can’t remember the last time you menstruated, this info can be quite confusing for you.
Another regular mistake is not counting from the first day of your cycle. The first day of menstruation is the day you start bleeding –not the second or previous day. Fertility can come down to hours, you should know the accurate timing of your cycle.
Dr. Curtis suggests using ovulation predictor kits, available over the counter. Keeping a calendar to track your cycle can be helpful. Using an online ovulation predictor or a mobile phone app works too.
8. Turning Blind Eyes to Your Worries
Settle down and resolve any health challenge before you try to conceive. You might be concerned about your constant irregular cycle or ovulation issues. You may have diabetes or other health challenges. It’s ok to be worried, more importantly, don’t try to ignore those worries. You should put everything in check before trying to get pregnant. Seek medical attention from your doctor.
9. Keeping an Unhealthy Lifestyle
A lot of women expose themselves to risk factors, especially ones that promote infertility; alcohol, smoke, drugs. The early stage of pregnancy is a very sensitive period of foetus development and you have to be mindful of what you consume. When it comes to alcohol, smoking and drugs behave as if you are already pregnant, because they are dangerous for you and impede conception.
Conception needs a sperm and an egg; If you don’t ovulate you can’t conceive. Anovulation is always an issue for conception, it can be stimulated by changes, conditions, and hormones.
Posterior Capsular Opacifations (PCOs) is one cause of anovulation. Others could be underweight or overweight, thyroid dysfunction, primary ovarian insufficiency, excessive exercise, and hyperprolactinemia.
Many women suffering from ovulation problems always have an irregular cycle. Nevertheless, a regular period does not guarantee ovulation. If you are having irregular cycles, see a doctor immediately for medical advice.
11. Too Quick to Move Out
There is a scientific and anecdotal backing here. You do not need to rush to the bathroom to wash off or douche; it’s better to lie flat on the bed, hips elevated, within 20 to 30 minutes after sexual intercourse to allow the sperm to go in well. This can be a remedy to about 80% of infertility issues.
Although douching might seem like a natural next level in your pregnancy making procedure, it’s obviously not nice. Douches can act as a spermicide, changing the PH of your vagina. “This has been shown to impair fertility,” Dr. Curtis says.
12. You Are Not Trying Long Enough
The question of how long have you tried, maybe a factor. For some, conception comes easy, but most women don’t conceive as easy as it is pronounced — it may take a longer process before conception can occur. You might want to check how long and consistent you have been. It could be that you really have not done much.
Close to 80% of women conceive after 6 months of trying, about 90% get pregnant in 12 months of trying to conceive. This can occur if you have a well-timed and planned intercourse monthly.
13. Your Man Is the Problem
Women are to conceive but it takes two to make it work, yeah? 20 or 30% of couples having fertility problems, notice fertility issues in the man, while 40% discover infertility in both couples.
One Important thing to note is that male infertility is usually asymptomatic; they rarely show symptoms of any underlying conditions. Without analyzing the semen, a test that checks or measures the quality and quantity of semen and sperm, one would not know there’s a problem. If you are seeing a doctor, make sure the both of you are properly tested.
14. Age-Related Infertility
Age affects fertility too. For women above 35 and men above 40, it could take a longer time to conceive. Some think having regular and normal cycles means they are safe, but it’s far from the truth. Your age affects egg quality and quantity.
15. Underlying Medical Problems
Some underlying medical conditions. For instance, undiagnosed diabetes, hormonal changes or imbalance, or a thyroid imbalance could cause infertility. When it’s not properly comprehended, depression is likely to occur in infertility. Autoimmune diseases, like undiagnosed sexually-transmitted infections and lupus, can lead to infertility.
• Prolonged Untreated Infection
Infection is also one of the major causes of infertility. A prolonged infection destroys the endometrium and fallopian tubes, reducing your chances of conceiving. It affects both the man and the woman. In cases like this, early diagnosis and treatment help to prevent further damage and infertility.
• Blocked Fallopian Tubes
Ovulatory issues account for almost 25% of infertility in women. Others can be issues with uterine structural problems or endometriosis and blocked fallopian tubes.
The fallopian tubes happen to be the footpath between the uterus and ovaries. The fallopian tubes do not connect to the ovaries directly. The Sperm must swim up from the cervix, through the uterus, and then into the fallopian tubes.
When an egg is released from the ovaries, hair-like projections from the fallopian tube go close to the egg internally. Conception occurs in the fallopian tube, where the egg and sperm finally meet. If something stops the fallopian tubes from functioning very well, hindering the sperm and egg from meeting, you can’t conceive.
There are so many causes of blocked fallopian tubes. Most women with blocked fallopian tubes have pains in the pelvic region, others do not have or rarely have symptoms. Only fertility tests can ascertain for blocked fallopian tubes. An HSG is a special type of X-ray used to check if the fallopian tubes are opened. It can be requested by your Obstetrician or Gynecologist (OB/GYN).
• You Have Endometriosis
Endometriosis occurs when the endometrium-like tissue (a mucus membrane that lines the uterus) is found in other places outside the uterus. It has been evaluated that 59% of women with this medical condition will find it difficult to conceive.
The commonest symptoms of endometriosis are pelvic pains (besides menstruation), and painful period. Nevertheless, not all women that experience this majority discover it during their infertility checkup.
16. No Testing or Treatment
Most couples with infertility issues, delay testing and treatment. The majority sit back and wait for miracles to occur. This is a mistake because most causes of infertility worsen as the undiagnosed disease progresses. The earlier you discover the cause, the easier for fertility treatment to work for you and for you to conceive. If you have been trying to get pregnant for a year, please seek medical attention.
17. Unexplained Infertility
About 10 to 20% of couples find no cause for their infertility. Some doctors would attribute this to a lack of proper diagnosis. To them, there is no such thing as “unexplained” infertility.
The truth is, even if there is no explanation for your infertility, you should still take medication to boost your fertility rate and avoid things that could expose you to infertility.
18. You’re Blaming Yourself
When infertility issues surface, we normally ask if the woman is the cause. According to Dr. Curtis, “cases of infertility are about 40 percent male, 40 percent female, and 20 percent a combination of both partners.”
Often the expectant woman runs to see her doctor for medical diagnosis, which is the wrong ¬– diagnosis should be done on both couples. The truth is it takes a healthy couple an average of 6 months to one year before conception can take place.
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