Some women during pregnancy cannot stand sweets and sugar. While there are others who simply cannot get enough sugar and sweets. Sugary food is considered rather addictive and too much of any sugary food is considered not healthy for either the mother or the baby. If you have been craving sugar during pregnancy, you may be thinking as to whether you giving in to your cravings is healthy. Does it have any implications on the baby?
Sugar cravings are a result of drops in the blood sugar level. When your blood sugar level drops, you have the tendency to want to bring that blood sugar level up again and the easiest way to do that is by eating something sweet. This is why you start craving sweets.
We’ll discuss various questions revolving around sugar cravings and pregnancy. Hence, keep reading this word to word.
Do You Crave Sweets When Pregnant?
Not all women crave sweets during pregnancy. Cravings during pregnancy vary from person to person. While some women crave sweets, others crave spicy food, while others crave rather odd things such as pickles and ketchup.
Sugar cravings are a common thing. Women during pregnancy tend to crave ice cream, candy, candy floss, chocolate, cake, brownies; the list goes on and on.
Though pregnancy cravings are not limited to sugar and sweet stuff, it is considered one of the more common cravings within the population of pregnant women.
Why Am I Craving Sugar During Pregnancy?
Sugar cravings are a result of a drop in blood sugar levels. When your blood sugar levels drop, you start craving sweet things to bring your blood sugar level back up. This is the mechanism that leads to sugar cravings during pregnancy.
This is not something that happens only during pregnancy. Many people experience sugar cravings throughout the day and often reach for a candy bar or some ice cream to satisfy their craving.
All sugar cravings happen in your body due to a drop in the blood sugar level and this is no different when you are pregnant. In fact, during pregnancy, you are more prone to drops in blood sugar levels, which is why you are more prone to sugar cravings. Even if you normally do not crave sugar, during pregnancy, you may find yourself craving it.
Pregnancy is a very special time for any woman and the cravings are simply part of the magical event which is birth. Don’t be scared of your cravings during pregnancy. If you are worried about your sugar cravings, there are ways to try to control them.
Is It Bad to Eat A Lot of Sugar During Pregnancy?
A study found that eating too much sugar can hurt the baby by hampering the development of brain function. It can negatively affect the child which is why too much sugar is not considered healthy for the baby or the mother.
Eating too much sugar could cause you to develop diabetes and brings with it the added element of becoming obese. We know, you are pregnant and you are bound to gain weight. However, how much weight you gain depends on what you eat and how much you eat.
If your sugar cravings lead you to eat a whole pint of ice cream in one sitting over and over again, this could have serious implications on the health of both the mother and the baby. Not only do you put the development of the baby at risk, but you also run the risk of hurting yourself.
Sugar brings with it the risk of developing heart complications, which has been widely documented. It is known to cause obesity, heart complications and diabetes, which is why though you are eating for two, you should try to limit the amount of sugar you eat.
Coming back to the fact that eating too much sugar could hurt brain development in the baby. The study went on to show that women who drank a lot of sugary soda during pregnancy noticed a negative impact on the cognitive function in the early childhood years of the child. This means poorer cognitive skills including non-verbal abilities to solve problems and verbal memory.
The same thing is true for young children who consumed too much sugar. There is a reason why we limit the amount of sugar a child eats and don’t allow them to eat too much. Too much sugar can have a negative effect on health and this remains the same during pregnancy.
Will High Blood Sugar Hurt My Baby?
High blood sugar can hurt the baby during the first weeks of pregnancy. This can even happen before you know that you are pregnant. If you are diabetic, it is considered necessary that you consult your healthcare professional as soon as possible to work out a plan to manage your diabetes.
High blood sugar can have various effects on the development of the child. Hence during pregnancy, it is important to control your blood sugar levels. Since diabetes is a hereditary disease, it is possible that the child may suffer from high blood sugar in the later stages of life.
High blood sugar can be harmful for it increases the chances of your baby developing birth defects. High blood sugar hampers the proper development of organs in the baby and the child could develop a serious heart defect or defects of the brain and spine.
Do not take this lightly, if you suffer from high blood sugar, you should consult a healthcare professional to control the disease and prevent any damage to your unborn baby.
You should technically try to plan to manage your blood glucose before you get pregnant.
Will Eating Too Much Sugar Make My Baby Big?
Consuming a lot of high sugar food has been linked to an increased chance of giving birth to a larger baby. A study found that consuming high GI foods such as white bread during pregnancy can lead to an increased chance of a larger baby.
It is a known fact, that women who gain a lot of weight during pregnancy tend to have bigger babies. This resultantly puts the baby at risk of developing obesity in later stages of life.
In order to prevent obesity and the chances of obesity, soon to be mothers should try to avoid high sugar foods during pregnancy. This includes white bread, cake, soft drinks and should try to add some healthy exercise into the mix.
How Much Sugar is OK in Pregnancy?
It is recommended that pregnant women take no more than 30 grams of free sugars a day. This is roughly equal to seven sugar cubes. For those of you who eat the entire bar of chocolate or the entire pint of ice cream, this is way above the recommended amount.
One can of cola contains about nine sugar cubes, which is higher than the daily allowance. We know that when you are pregnant, it can be difficult to not give in to your cravings. It is easy to say that you shouldn’t eat too much sugar, but it could be something very difficult to do. Think about it, those of you who do drink cola, how often do you limit yourself to half a can every day?
However, there are certain things that you can do to control your sugar cravings during pregnancy. You are not completely helpless and there are things that you can try to lead a healthy pregnancy and control the amount of sugar that you are consuming.
How Can I Stop Sugar Cravings During Pregnancy?
Though they sound harmless, sugar cravings can have serious health implications for both you and your child. This is why it is important to try to stop your sugar cravings or control them to the point that they don’t impact your pregnancy.
Here are some things that you can try to stop sugar cravings and control them during pregnancy.
Eat More Often
When you make it a habit to eat more frequent healthy meals, you ensure that your blood sugar levels do not drop. This prevents you from getting sugar cravings in the first place.
If you are used to consuming three meals every day, we recommend that you try eating 5 to 6 meals every day. This will ensure that you are eating something healthy throughout the day, thereby reducing the chances of your blood sugar levels dropping.
Try not to go more than 3 to 4 hours without eating something. This way, you stay on top of your diet and you control your cravings as opposed to finding yourself hungry and craving for a sugary treat.
Take Advantage of Protein
Proteins work to balance your blood sugar levels. They also help in the growth and development of the baby. Proteins are essential for building new muscle and plays a significant role in increasing the supply of blood in your body, which is considered very healthy for the child.
When you eat meals comprising of a good protein source, you ensure that you provide the body with what you need, thereby further helping you balance your blood sugar levels. Further to this, proteins help you stay full for a longer period of time, which means you are less likely to crave anything in between meals.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Manage your diet to include as many foods as you can. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and add dairy, protein and grains into the mix. This will ensure that both you and your baby as getting all the nutrients that you need.
You increase the chance of sourcing essential nutrients that are harder to source and ensure that both you and the baby are healthy. The more of a balanced diet you eat, the greater the chances that you will develop healthy eating habits, which in essence will mean that you limit the amount of high sugar food.
Eat More Fibre
Fibre is a great way to stay full for a longer period of time. Food that contains fibre are considered very filling and can work to help prevent constipation. Fibre also brings a host of other health benefits which will help both you and the baby.
You should aim to eat at least 5 fruits and vegetables every day. You can add some flax seeds or chia seeds into your smoothies to make them healthier. You can choose to incorporate whole grains and whole-grain bread into your diet and eat a healthy share of cereals and pasta.
Choose to Eat Fruit
Fruits can be a great way to ensure that you give your body the sugar that it needs without bringing with it the harmful effects of high sugar foods.
When you start craving something sweet, you can choose to eat some fruit, which is usually loaded with vitamins and fibre which the baby needs. Eating an entire bar of chocolate doesn’t help the baby. Eating an avocado most certainly does.
Hence, make the wiser choice and choose to eat fruit. The more fruit you eat, the healthier you and your baby will be.
Eat Tiny Portions of Sweets
Don’t eat the entire pint of ice cream or the entire bar of chocolate. Control the portion and treat yourself to a tiny amount. This way, you don’t deny yourself what you are craving, however, control the amount that you eat.
Remember, 30 grams of free sugars per day is what is recommended, hence you can indulge in sugars within this limit. This means having a tiny piece of chocolate or half a can of cola.
However, if you are eating healthy meals and are eating every 3 to 4 hours, you would find it easy to control your portions when it comes to sweets and sugary treats.
For more ways to control your sugar cravings, we recommend that you read our article on, ‘How Do I Stop Sugar Cravings?‘
Pregnancy can be a wonderful time, a very special time for all women. Pregnancy cravings can lead you in the wrong direction if you are not careful. This is the case with sugar and sweets.
Too much sugar and sweets are not considered healthy during pregnancy and you should do what you have to do to ensure that you are controlling the amount of sweets that you are consuming.
It isn’t difficult to control sugar cravings. If you stick to the tips that we provided you, you should be able to take good control of the situation.
Remember, eat healthily, eat a balanced diet and eat more often. When you do find it impossible to not have something sweet, treat yourself to a tiny amount. Remember, you are caring for another human being and should do everything that you can to ensure that the baby grows and develops in your tummy without any complication.
We hope reading this word to word has helped you uncover the truth behind sugar cravings during pregnancy. We hope that you are able to take control and wish you a happy pregnancy!