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Cravings… gosh girl!

Maybe you just are too pregnant and craving an M&M Mc’flurry at 2 A.M, but wait a minute… this could be ruin your good diet, don’t worry, for many women, powerful food cravings for certain foods come with the territory during pregnancy. You've probably heard tales of loved ones being dispatched at all hours to search for a certain brand of bacon double cheeseburger or rocky road ice cream to quell an expectant mom's desire. Perhaps you've felt an overwhelming urge to splurge firsthand.

Truth is, nobody is sure why some women have pregnancy food cravings. "Some experts say cravings, and their flip side, food aversions, are protective, even if there is no scientific data to back up that theory," says Siobhan Dolan, MD, assistant medical director of the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation and assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and women's health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

For example, you may not feel like drinking alcohol when pregnant, which is beneficial since avoiding beer, wine, and other spirits fosters your baby's mental and physical development.

Pregnancy Cravings Are in a Class by Themselves

So food cravings are probably all in your head, a product of pregnancy hormones. Hormonal shifts during pregnancy intensify sense of smell (which heavily influences taste) and are powerful enough to affect food choices.

"It's possible that women who are feeling nauseous, bloated, tired, or crabby due to the effects of pregnancy hormones look for foods to increase their comfort level," says Elisa Zied, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. "Some women who deprive themselves when they're not pregnant think of pregnancy as a time to treat themselves to foods they typically avoid."

When expecting, Zied favored foods she loved as a teen but ate far less often in the years leading up to her two pregnancies. A combination of kielbasa and melted cheese atop toasted English muffins were big with Zied during her first pregnancy. When due with her second child, she preferred Cheez-It’s over anything else.

How does a nutrition professional who knows better manage cravings? By eating small portions of the lower-fat versions of her favorite foods. "When I wanted those foods, I really wanted them, so I gave in, always mindful of how much I was eating," she says.

So go girl and take the food you want (with moderation) because you are carrying a new life in your tummy, and you deserve it!