Giving in to Pregnancy Cravings, One Gummy Bear at a Time

My first pregnancy, it was sausages. Which was not only uncomfortably literal, but kind of gross to a recovering vegetarian like me. But the pregnant lady wants what the pregnant lady wants, so we made regular runs to the local butcher, the nearest Chicago dog place and our favorite German restaurant. But that wasn’t all. I craved milk, especially warm, with honey, as well as sweets of all kinds. Normally, I’m not a sweets person, but suddenly I got twitchy when the house wasn’t stocked in gummy bears and mochi ice cream.

This time around, I’m having a hard time with meat in general, yet the sweets cravings are back full-force. For awhile it was Dilly bars, then snack-sized Salted Nut Rolls, and now, I’m into pastries in general. And I absolutely must end the day with a large bowl of Raisin Bran. It’s just how it is.

Did you see the new study published in Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine that says that a healthy diet, both before you get pregnant and while you are, reduces your child’s risk of neural tube defects? Some are interpreting this to mean that giving into pregnancy cravings is bad.

While I’m not going to sit here and say that upping my sugar or sausage intake is a good thing, or that it doesn’t make me sometimes feel a tad guilty, I certainly don’t believe that it’s endangering my child. Even those early days, especially in my first pregnancy, when I was so sick that I survived on cereal, Saltines and ginger ale, making it out of the first trimester five pounds lighter than I entered it, I was doing what I could. I always managed to keep my prenatal vitamin down, and continue to do so. I eat lots of fruits and veggies and maintain a pretty well-rounded diet, and I try and listen to what my body needs. Sometimes, it needs cheese enchiladas. Other times, it’s a massive bowl of broccoli. More often than not, it’s pear-ginger streusel and a cup of decaf Earl Grey with plenty of milk.

To me, the study confirms it’s right to eat healthy—which of course you should do before you’re pregnant, while you’re pregnant and after you’re pregnant, right?—not that any non-broccoli indulgence means your child will suffer terribly. That interpretation seems not only alarmist but actually kind of mean. We preggo ladies put enough pressure on ourselves. No need to unnecessarily heap it on. Please, let’s just listen to Suzan Carmichael, an associate professor at Stanford University’s Child Health Research Institute who worked on the study, according to Reuters Health:

“The bottom line for women who are pregnant or may get pregnant, she told Reuters Health, is to “eat a variety of foods, including a lot of fruits and vegetables and grains in your diet, and take a vitamin supplement that contains folic acid.”

I say indulge in those pregnancy cravings. They certainly can be all-consuming, can’t they? So strange, to be going about your day and then suddenly, out of nowhere, the urge for a donut is so strong you literally can’t focus on conversations or emails or, you know, anything that doesn’t involve sprinkles. Just make sure you’re indulging in plenty of healthy foods and that prenatal vitamin as well.

Ok, now I need a handful of peanuts and candy corn. Pregnant or not, I really hope you’ve experienced this magnificent combo. It’s like a DIY free-form Salted Nut Roll. Do it.

Gummy bear image credit: Flickr user DOH4

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  1. by Eve

    On October 17, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    So many thoughts.

    1.The homemade salted nut roll is the best thing ever.

    2. Did you try rosemary pancakes the first pregnancy? All the joy of breakfast sausage in your pancake, without eating the sausage.

    3. Annie’s Mac ‘n Cheese. I couldn’t get enough of it-with hot sause.

    4. Did you see the study linking a childs taste with what the mama ate during pregnancy?

  2. by Berit Thorkelson

    On October 17, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Eve! Those pancakes sound a-maze-ing. I HEART rosemary. Homemade? I suck most terribly at the pancake making. Changing that is a long-term goal.

    Yes, have heard about how what preggo-mama eats can influence baby’s taste buds, thanks for bringing it up. It definitely propels me toward variety. I suppose I should be focusing even further on quick-and-easy variety…

  3. by Katy

    On October 17, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    I also had been vegetarian and 1st trimester wanted MEAT. My carnivorous husband actually had to ask for vegetables. After that settled down, I ate insane amounts of citrus for the rest of the pregnancy, consuming a minimum of an entire pineapple a week.

  4. by anti jen

    On October 17, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    I wanted raw meat when Sam was gestating. I would literally salivate when walking by the meat case at HyVee. No cravings with Zadie, at all. Weird.

    But the thing about all these warnings they put on mamas is that they’re bound to drive you nuts. I remember when I was pregnant with Zadie, I read something on MSNBC about how if you hold your baby only on the right side, there’s a higher chance they’ll have a brain disorder. That’s when I knew: You just can’t believe all these studies. Just be a good mom. You’ve got it right, B. Just do what feels right. Instincts are usually correct.

  5. by Heather Morgan Shott

    On October 17, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    I was obsessed with cream cheese my first trimester with Mason. Then I was super into strawberries, which I normally can’t stand until they’re smothered in chocolate, and bananas. I also loved peanut butter and crab legs.