What Do Common Pregnancy Cravings Mean?

The one thing that is commonly joked about pregnancy is the weird food cravings that many pregnant women have. Let’s take the classic pickles with ice cream combination pregnancy craving as an example. However, not many pregnant women get cravings like that, as more often than not, their cravings involve normal foods. And these cravings start in the latter part of the first trimester, hit its peak in the second trimester, and drop in the third trimester. But it is just funny to see how much pregnant women want so much of the same type of food even if it has nothing to do with an unusual combination. For instance, some pregnant women will crave a certain fruit in the middle of the night all the time. And there is a reason for that. The science behind pregnancy cravings regardless of whether it involves strange food combinations or food on its own is that there is a certain nutrient that the pregnant woman needs due to being deficient on some level. Or perhaps something in her system needs to be better regulated.  And, it has nothing to do with the sex of the unborn baby. Let’s look at the type of food cravings that pregnant women frequently experience:

 

Sweet Foods

 

If the pregnant woman has a strong craving for anything sweet such as chocolate or candy, you may have heard that it is because she is having a girl. However, that is false, and the true meaning behind any sweet craving is due to it being a sign that her blood sugar levels are low. And, the sweet craving is there because the glucose levels need to be elevated. However, it is a known fact that consuming too much sugar is not recommended because it can cause excessive weight gain and increase the chances of gestational diabetes. If the sweet cravings persist, then it is best to stick to fruits such as berries, apples, and watermelon.

 

Salty And Spicy Foods

 

this craving has nothing to do with having a boy. The fact of the matter is that the blood volume goes up during pregnancy and sodium levels can easily drop. And when that happens, it is no wonder that pregnant women crave salty and/or spicy foods to bring the sodium levels up. The common foods that are craved during pregnancy are fries, popcorn, pretzels, and Buffalo wings. However, it is essential to be mindful of blood pressure levels. Too much salt will elevate the blood pressure and serious complications such as preeclampsia may happen which is what every pregnant woman will want to avoid at all costs. Just eat the salty or spicy food in moderation and that will be enough to bring the sodium levels up to the right place.

 

Citrus Foods

 

There are many reasons behind citrus cravings and it most definitely can be linked to low levels of Vitamins C and D, as well as low stomach acid. That means there will be cravings for oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and even vinegar to add to salads. It may also be a sign that a virus could be lurking and it is the body’s way of saying that the immune system needs to go up which requires more Vitamin C. And, this part is also true for anyone who isn’t pregnant which includes children, men, and postmenopausal women. Whenever a cold is coming on, you just have to get our hands on that orange.

 

Strange Food Combinations

 

Just like the pickles and ice cream analogy, weird food combinations don’t happen as often as you would think. However, whenever it does, it is due to having multiple irregularities in the system on top of the need for requiring other nutrients. With that said, a pregnant woman who is craving pickles and ice cream is craving for something salty and sweet at the same time. That means her blood sugar and sodium levels are low. And, it is also quite common for pregnant women not to have strange cravings at all. They are the fortunate ones to not be experiencing any type of deficiencies at all. But for those who do get cravings may be taking their prenatal vitamins as instructed, and may not be getting sick at all. They just may not be processing what they are taking in all that well. It happens, and it is best to never ignore those cravings. However, just eat whatever the food that is being craved in moderation to avoid possible pregnancy-related complications due to consuming an excess of sugar or salt.

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6 Pregnancy Symptoms That No One Knows

Life is transformation and movement. Pregnancy, from conception to birth, is one of the main dynamics in which changes materialize. After all, the mother’s organism needs to be adequate to account for sheltering and providing the biological inputs for the baby’s training. Therefore, the symptoms of pregnancy are not a mere detail in the woman’s body – they are a result of the changes in quantity and intensity of the hormones. This transformation manifests itself in different ways, from the most evident, with the delay of the menstrual to the most subtle and little associated with a possible pregnancy, for example having the veins of the arm more evident. It is worth remembering that no single pregnancy symptom is sufficient to confirm a pregnancy. The best way to get this answer is by performing the blood test. Not even the menstrual delay is able to confirm a pregnancy. who has an irregular menstrual cycle that says so. Here are some more subtle but not less important pregnancy symptoms:

Snoring

 

According to gynecologist Orlando Camanho Costa Filho, of Santa Casa de Mauá, hormonal oscillations cause changes in the vocal chords and also cause the nasal membranes to swell, causing snoring. This symptom is not common in early pregnancy, but it can happen.

Bleeding gums

 

This symptom of pregnancy, in fact, can be accentuated in the gestational period. According to Costa Filho, the pregnant woman would probably have a predisposition to have gingivitis before becoming pregnant. Hence, as gestation happens, this condition is accentuated and causes gingivitis. Pregnancy causes the production of hormones like progesterone and estrogen to increase. This hormonal change causes increased blood flow and makes the gingival region more sensitive.

Swollen vulva

 

Hormonal changes cause blood flow to increase in the vaginal region. This dynamic also causes greater circulation in the region of the vulva, making it appear more swollen.

Increased perspiration

 

When a woman becomes pregnant, it is as if she is in a physiological menopause. Hence, the increase in blood flow caused by the hormones causes the blood vessels to dilate and increase body temperature. This causes the pregnant woman to feel more heat and consequently transpire more. Soon this can also be a symptom of pregnancy.

Itching

 

Increased sweating can facilitate the appearance of dermatitis and skin rashes, and it is also a symptom of pregnancy. According to Costa Filho, skin changes tend to intensify with the evolution of pregnancy. That is why it is important to keep it moisturized and protected throughout the period.

Flatulence

 

With the increase of the progesterone there is an increase in the contraction of the smooth muscles, responsible for the movements of the digestive tract. This lowers the rate at which the gases are eliminated causing them to be concentrated in the intestine – thus resulting in the fermentation of certain foods by the bacteria.

How do I know if I’m pregnant by taking blood?

 

The blood HCG beta test is more sensitive than the pharmacy pregnancy test, so it can detect pregnancy even before the menstrual delay. However, if the woman is suspicious of pregnancy but did the test before the menstruation delay, the test may fail to detect the beta HCG in the body and give false negative. In such cases, the ideal is to repeat the test one more time, if the menstruation really delays. The result of the HCG beta blood test is expressed quantitatively, that is, with the measurements of the concentration of the hormone in the blood. Usually the values are very variable and change from woman to woman and laboratory to laboratory according to the measurement method they use. That is, two women with the same gestational age can take the exam in the same place and have different results. Or the same woman can take the test in two labs and have different hormone concentrations.

When the first symptoms of pregnancy appear

 

According to the Ministry of Health, usually the first symptoms of pregnancy appear when the egg is installed in the wall of the uterus, a few days after the intercourse has happened. However, many women only realize that they are pregnant from the delay of menstruation. To get your questions answered, we list the main symptoms that suggest a pregnancy and may warrant a consultation with your gynecologist. For quick result you can use pills to get pregnant over the counter.

 

Menstrual delay

 

Many pregnancy symptoms may appear at different times, but there is no more accurate symptom than the delay in menstruation. It occurs because the blood of menstruation is nothing more than a layer that the uterus produces to better accommodate the embryo, and that is eliminated when gestation does not occur. That is, if menstruation has not gone down, most likely and that blood is being used for its original purpose! Thus, it can be said that the first symptoms of pregnancy appear from the second day of delay of menstruation. On the other hand, many women do not have as much control of their menstruation. In these cases, the woman tends to distrust after a certain time, with the appearance of the other symptoms.

Bigger and more sensitive breasts

 

Another well-marked pregnancy symptom is changes in the breasts, which may appear between the fourth and sixth week of pregnancy. This is because the gestation process causes them to begin to develop so that the woman can produce milk in breastfeeding, with an increase of the glands and the vascularization. “The breast becomes numb, more turgid and painful, and can increase up to one or two bra sizes,” says gynecologist Luiz Fernando Dale, a specialist in Human Reproduction and director of the Center for Reproductive Medicine in Rio de Janeiro. Some women are so sensitive in the region that their breasts hurt even in their movements, such as touching them.

Nuisance

 

Nausea is the most classic first-trimester pregnancy symptom. “This pregnancy symptom usually appears as early as the second week after fertilization.” explains the gynecologist and obstetrician CorintioMarianiNeto, member of the Association of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the State of São Paulo (SOGESP). But it is clear that the time of onset of the first symptoms of pregnancy and intensity varies from woman to woman, although it is rare not to present it.

Darkest areas

 

With so much activity and changes in the breasts, there is an increase in the vascularization of the region, which even justifies such sensitivity in these organs. By this the breasts of the breasts tend to become darker than before. “Some women, over time, end up with a second areola a bit lighter than the original around them,” explains Mariani. In some cases, this pregnancy symptom may appear from the second week onwards. In addition, small protuberances may develop in the areolas, which often frighten first-time mothers. “In fact, they are just the Montgomery Tuber, sebaceous glands that help the skin of the region to stay more hydrated,” he says.

Little bleeding

 

Many women report a slight bleeding early in pregnancy, usually attributed to the time the embryo is implanted in the wall of the uterus, since fertilization occurs in the fallopian tubes, closer to the ovary. The specialists are divided as to the occurrence of this bleeding. Many believe that it may not happen, while others say yes, it is even common to find women who claim to have “menstruated” early in pregnancy. In some cases, this symptom of pregnancy may occur between six and 12 days after intercourse.

Increased urinary frequency

 

Increased urinary frequency is also one of the symptoms of pregnancy, especially from the second month of gestation. “As the uterus grows, it repositions itself in the body, and it compresses the bladder. It is common for the pregnant woman to wake up at night with a lot of desire to urinate, but to have little liquid,” says Mariani. Of course, this urinary frequency increases throughout the gestation, with the growth of the uterus and the fetus, and it is much more discreet at the beginning. According to the specialist, the bladder adapts to this initial change and then, with the fit of the baby near the time of delivery, the urge to urinate back.

Abdominal enlargement

 

Obviously the belly is only really visible from the middle to the end of pregnancy, however, from the beginning the more alert women may notice a small increase in the abdomen, as if she were getting a little fat and this may be one of the first symptoms of pregnancy, which may appear from the fifth week of gestation. In part it is a change of place that the uterus has of size and location, to begin to accommodate the baby. But there is also the influence that pregnancy hormones exert on the digestive system. “As there is a reduction in intestinal transit, there is a swelling of the region,” explains Mariani.

Constipation

 

The bowel is totally affected by gestation: progesterone reduces intestinal transit, ie, the bolus takes much longer to do all its way until it is excreted as the stool. That is, stool becomes something much more time consuming from the beginning, which even increases the abdominal bloating. This pregnancy symptom usually appears throughout the first trimester;

Low intensity gas and colic

 

As a consequence, the pregnant woman also accumulates many more gases. “When the food bolus does not walk, the gas gets stuck too, which can cause cramps and discomfort,” says Dale. For this reason, it is common for the pregnant woman to have small intestinal cramps, in addition to the small common colic of the uterus. “It is important that these cramps are not intense and do not last for very long periods, or it can mean some problem in pregnancy,” says Mariani.

Aversion to strong odors

 

It is not known for sure why, but women often have changes in taste and smell during gestation. “It’s very common for a pregnant woman who loved pastels, for example, to spend a good amount of gestation without being able to smell it without feeling sick,” Mariani says.

Emotional instability

 

Pregnant women tend to be sensitive and an increase in ease in crying may also be a symptom of pregnancy. For Dale, it’s all about fluid retention. “There may be a build up of fluid in the head, which presses the brain and changes the area of humor,” explains the specialist. In addition, it is important to remember that pregnancy is a whirlwind of new emotions, especially for those who are expecting the first child. Doubts about the baby’s health, how it will deliver, and whether she will be able to breastfeed, all go through her head, and the insecurity of starting a new experience.

Strange wishes

 

Along with changes in smell, one of the first symptoms of pregnancy can be the appearance of food cravings for both ordinary and non-edible items such as dirt, bricks, plastic … This eating disorder is called “pica” and has a bottom more emotional and is common in the first trimester of pregnancy. “Normally, when the pregnant woman has these symptoms, it is important to investigate if she is not having a family problem or with her husband,” says Mariani.

Increased libido

 

Some pregnant women report having increased sexual libido. From the hormonal point of view, this may even make sense. “In the first trimester, hormone production still occurs in the ovary, and as it is overstimulated, it may end up producing too much testosterone, a hormone linked to sexual desire,” Dale says. However, with so many other symptoms occurring, such as nausea, constipation and gas, many pregnant women do not even want to know about sex throughout their pregnancy.

Increased salivation

 

The pregnant woman has an increased production of all the secretions of the body: sweat, discharge, tears … and saliva! What can happen relatively often is the pregnant woman producing too much saliva. “I’ve seen a lot of patients come to the office with a towel to spit, because saliva production is so great that swallowing can increase nausea,” says Mariani. So this may be another early pregnancy symptom.

Bleeding gums

 

This symptom of pregnancy, in fact, can be accentuated in the gestational period. According to Costa Filho, the pregnant woman would probably have a predisposition to have gingivitis before becoming pregnant. Hence, as gestation happens, this condition is accentuated and causes gingivitis. Pregnancy causes the production of hormones like progesterone and estrogen to increase. This hormonal change causes increased blood flow and makes the gingival region more sensitive.

Snoring

 

According to gynecologist Orlando Camanho Costa Filho, of Santa Casa de Mauá, hormonal oscillations cause changes in the vocal chords and also cause the nasal membranes to swell, causing snoring. This symptom is not common in early pregnancy, but it can happen.

Swelling of the vulva

 

Hormonal changes cause blood flow to increase in the vaginal region. This dynamic also causes greater circulation in the region of the vulva, making it appear more swollen.

Increased perspiration

 

When a woman becomes pregnant, it is as if she is in a physiological menopause. Hence, the increase in blood flow caused by the hormones causes the blood vessels to dilate and increase body temperature. This causes the pregnant woman to feel more heat and consequently transpire more. Soon this can also be a symptom of pregnancy

Itching

 

Increased sweating can facilitate the appearance of dermatitis and skin rashes, and it is also a symptom of pregnancy. According to Costa Filho, skin changes tend to intensify with the evolution of pregnancy. That is why it is important to keep it moisturized and protected throughout the period.

Flatulence

 

With the increase of the progesterone there is an increase in the contraction of the smooth muscles, responsible for the movements of the digestive tract. This lowers the rate at which the gases are eliminated causing them to be concentrated in the intestine – thus resulting in the fermentation of certain foods by the bacteria.

READ MORE