Should you listen to your body? That depends. If you're craving sweets, it's fine to have a bit of chocolate once in a while, provided you don't overdo it on calories. (Here's a tip for chocolate lovers: Instead of squandering a few hundred calories on an ordinary grocery-store chocolate bar, buy yourself some of the very best chocolate you can find and have a small taste every day.) It's a myth, however, that your body is telling you something with its cravings or aversions or that pregnant women crave foods that contain nutrients they need. The fact is the foods you are likely to crave--most commonly, snack or junk foods such as french fries, pizza, salami, ice cream, pickles, cookies, or candy -- don't have much nutritional value.
If you crave nonfood items such as clay, cornstarch, laundry starch, or coffee grounds, tell your doctor right away. This is a condition called pica, and it can be dangerous for you and your baby.
As for aversions, if you are repulsed by, say, meat, it's fine to avoid it, as long as you get your protein from another source. It's also fine to give in to a junk food craving occasionally. However, don't let cravings become an excuse for poor eating, and don't let aversions keep you from getting the nutrients you and your baby need.
Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.
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