Here's to Pickles and Ice Cream
Jan. 7, 2002 -- You've heard of the doting husband who runs out
at midnight to buy pickles and ice cream for his pregnant wife, who simply
couldn't get to sleep without her fix. Legend, you might say? No way.
These great guys -- oh yes, and pregnancy cravings -- really do
Bob Gaviglio satisfied his wife Jean's yen for doughnuts --
chocolate honey-dipped, thank you very much -- whenever the mood seized her,
with a run to Dunkin' Donuts. And not just during one pregnancy, says Jean, but
"I felt that given the two options -- running around doing
things like this or carrying this load in my stomach -- I had by far the better
deal, so I was more than willing to do that type of stuff," says Bob,
senior relationship manager at the Bank of Nova Scotia in New York.
Lots of women admit to weird cravings and aversions during
pregnancy. In most cases, they're nothing to worry about. You should
enjoy the new taste sensations you're experiencing as a mom-to-be. Just
don't let them replace a healthy diet for the next nine months.
Enjoy the Ride, but Only Around the Block
Food cravings and aversions during pregnancy haven't been
explored with any great scientific rigor, so no one knows for sure just how
widespread they are, whether certain foods are more common than others, or even
why the phenomenon occurs. And it's hard to know just how much of it is
"If a woman has been raised to believe that during
pregnancy one craves pickles, then ... she's likely to crave pickles," says
Roy Pitkin, MD, professor emeritus of obstetrics and gynecology at UCLA, and
editor of the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Doctors and nutritionists do say a woman's senses are often
heightened during pregnancy, however, causing certain foods to smell and taste
a whole lot better, or a whole lot worse -- triggering the nausea associated
with morning sickness.
"There are definitely comfort foods," says Elizabeth
Ward, a registered dietician in Boston and author of Pregnancy Nutrition:
Good Health for You and Your Baby. "Once you start eating something and
realize you like it or that it feels good, then you think again about having
Cravings are most likely associated with changes in hormones
during pregnancy, says Jennifer Niebyl, MD, head of obstetrics and gynecology
at the University of Iowa College of Medicine. Studies have shown that women
get food cravings, or appetite changes, when they're taking the hormone
progesterone for birth control or to relieve symptoms of menopause.
Should moms-to-be give in to their dietary urges? Pregnancy is
supposed to be enjoyable, so have a little fun with your cravings, the experts
say, but don't go overboard. The key is making sure you're getting a healthy
diet first, and then working in those extras.