Here's to Pickles and Ice Cream
Chocolates, Blueberries, and Those Pesky 'Momisms' continued...
But that doesn't mean cravings are your body's way of screaming
for foods it needs, experts say. That may be an eye-opener for those of us
raised by mothers who took every opportunity to point out that our bodies
must be deficient in a food we're craving -- proof that we're not eating
right, or enough.
Niebyl says an example commonly used to disprove that old
wives' tale is the urge to eat ice cubes, which is often associated with
anemia. "That doesn't help the iron deficiency. They need to be eating
iron-containing foods." One exception to the rule, however, may be salty
foods. The body needs a little more sodium [salt] to balance the extra fluid
volume during pregnancy, although the normal diet usually includes enough, adds
There's also no scientific evidence that what you crave during
pregnancy will become one of your child's favorites. Anne Pike, a mother of
four who lives in Evanston, Ill., says she ate tons of blueberries during her
first pregnancy, and sure enough, by the time David was 1, he already showed an
affinity for them. "He loved them as a baby, couldn't get enough of
them," she says. With her second, she craved hot dogs, and her daughter,
Sara, loves those.
But it's hard to tell whether those would be foods the children
would like anyway, or if it's really a matter of conditioning. "There's an
element of a self-fulfilling prophecy here," Pitkin says. "Let's say a
woman eats chocolate during pregnancy. If she likes it, she's going to have it
around the house afterward, too."
And while studies have shown that a fetus does develop a sense
of taste in the womb and will even swallow more when the amniotic fluid is
sweetened, it's doubtful that the fetus can actually taste what you taste. The
food you eat is already metabolized by the time it gets through the umbilical
cord to the baby, he says.
The sole evidence for a link between eating habits during
pregnancy and children's food preferences is new research indicating that women
with morning sickness tend to have children who crave salt as adults.
Researchers speculate that it may have to do with dehydration that can occur
when pregnant moms are too nauseous to drink enough.