Cereal For Dinner, Baby Winner!

Written by Nerika Cariaga, Edited by Kendall Lloyd

4/26/20222 min read

From a CrunchWrap Supreme to cereal for dinner, pregnancy cravings are universal. But why do pregnant women experience them? No, it’s not a visit from the gods of food– it’s just science! Pregnancy cravings are speculated to be caused by a variety of things, including hormones, which lead to a heightened sense of smell and taste, and nutritional deficiencies within the mother while her body sustains her unborn offspring. Cravings often begin in the first trimester and peak in the second trimester but can happen anytime during pregnancy.

It is often speculated that cravings are a result of a woman or fetus’s nutritional needs. This underlying biological reasoning is somewhat tempting. After all, especially with women being pregnant for the first time, this is a confusing portion of an unnavigated process. Long, exhausting, and uncomfortable days are to come, and if there's a festering desire for tacos, so be it; it’s science. But scientific studies have been done to uncover the true, underlying cause of these seemingly random cravings. Pregnancy cravings are shown to differ across cultures; the cravings women report in the United States and Great Britain contrast with those from a non-English background. For example, in Japan, the most commonly craved food was rice.

Psychologists of another study provided pregnant women with boxes of foods, like milk chocolate, and asked women to open and eat the contents whenever they desired to do so. In the end, this study yielded white chocolate as the most satisfying craving. Other studies resulted in different conclusions. With this in mind, Julia Hormes, a professor of psychology at the State University of New York, may provide an explanation for this occurrence. She articulated that menopausal women continue to report cravings for chocolate but simply attribute it to other reasons, not pregnancy cravings. All in all, a strong craving for shortbread cookies, chocolate bars, or potato chips can start with a simple idea and then gradually turn into an irresistible obsession.

Crave away! But also don’t eat yourself up.

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