Having recently had my first child at the age of 37, I made it my personal mission to have the happiest and healthiest pregnancy, delivery and baby I could. Being a Holistic Health Coach, I took a very keen interest in the nutrition and lifestyle aspect of it and even went on to further educate myself in the area. Keep reading as I debunk myths like pregnancy cravings and more on it.
Through my personal experience and further education, I discovered that there are so many preconceived notions about pregnancy, delivery and post-partum that don’t necessarily hold true! In the publishings to come, I will address and debunk some of these notions that I encountered.
Debunking Pregnancy Myths
The first in this series is one that we are all too familiar with and ingrained in our pop culture –
Cravings! From sugary, to sour to bizarre, we’ve heard of it all!
While not to say that cravings are totally invalid it is not something that we are totally powerless over. Cravings, in general, can have many driving forces ranging from a lack of balanced blood sugar, protein, water, sleep, nutrients such as iron ( resulting in Pica which is a craving for chalk!), imbalanced hormones and of course emotional eating! The key is to figure out what is at the root of your cravings and try and address it.
I Did These To Keep Pregnancy Cravings At Bay :
- Balancing your blood sugar through the day: You are growing a baby and your body needs the energy to do that. While you will notice that your appetite has increased, especially in the 2nd and more so 3rd trimester, it is important to ensure frequent, nutritious meals throughout the course of the day while maintaining your blood sugar levels. The way to do this is to have balanced meals with a focus on protein, fats, and fibre in the form of fruits & veggies and complex carbs.
- Drink plenty of water: We often confuse thirst with hunger, so make sure you drink up! Rule of thumb for water intake is weight in kgs/30. Add 300 ml for every 30 minutes of physical activity. So if your weight is 60kgs and 30 minutes of activity, the goal is at least 2.3 litres per day. This would continue going up gradually as your weight increases.
- Eat sufficient protein: Lack of protein is a great contributor to cravings. During pregnancy your body’s need for protein increases to aid the development of the foetus, not giving your body enough will lead to cravings, particularly the sugary kind.
- Get enough sleep: Sleep regulates your hormones. Not enough sleep, and “ghrelin” (your hunger hormone) and “leptin” (your satiety hormone) go off balance. Additionally, then to increase energy levels, you would most likely turn to carbohydrate-rich, sugary foods.
- Emotional Quotient: Bored, stressed, anxious about the baby or delivery, and dissatisfied with personal relationships can all lead to emotional eating. Try and recognise and get to the bottom of your trigger and address that rather than masking it with food.
- Prep & Plan Ahead: Planning your meals ahead of time and keeping healthier options around for times when you are not prepared will minimize unhealthy indulgences.
Sometimes though we can be doing everything right, and the desire for that piece of chocolate cake just won’t go away, which is perfectly okay! Feel free to give in – it’s all about mindful eating, and honouring your body, while enjoying your pregnancy, so if you really feel like it, go for it!