12.1.2  Food dislikes and food cravings

A pregnant woman may suddenly dislike a food that she usually likes. It is OK not to eat that food, and she will probably begin to like it again after the birth. She should be careful that the rest of her diet contains a lot of nutritious food. You will learn what advice to give women about good nutrition during pregnancy in Study Session 14.

A food craving (also known as pica) is a strong desire to eat a certain food, or even something that is not food at all, like black soil, chalk or clay (Figure 12.1). If a woman gets a craving for nutritious foods (like beans, eggs, fruits or vegetables), it is OK for her to eat as much as she wants.

Pica is pronounced ‘pye-kah’.

Two women discuss their food cravings.
Figure 12.1  Food cravings are common in early pregnancy.

A woman who craves to eat things that are not food, like soil or clay, should be advised not to eat them. They may poison her and her baby. They may also give her parasites, like worms, that can make her sick. Encourage her to eat iron-rich and calcium-rich foods instead (see the advice in Figure 12.1).

12.1.1  Nausea, vomiting and hyperemesis gravidarum

12.1.3  Heartburn