If a chocolate craving or a need for sweets has you reaching for the goodies in the checkout aisle, you probably are trying to balance your desires with your concern for your baby's health. Nutritionist and registered
Martha Belury, PhD

If a chocolate craving or a need for sweets has you reaching for the goodies in the checkout aisle, you probably are trying to balance your desires with your concern for your baby's health. Nutritionist and registered dietician Martha Belury, PhD, tells you about some reasons behind sugar cravings, and how moderation is key. Your question
I can't keep myself away from candy. Is this really bad for me or the baby?

The expert answers
Many things may trigger a heightened desire for sweets, including hormonal status (estrogen is an appetite stimulant!), seasons and/or holidays of the year, trimester of pregnancy, mood changes, and so forth. But a very common cause of craving sweets is simply being overtired. Such fatigue may be caused by emotional anxiety, excitement, physical tiredness, lack of ability to sleep and/or being overextended from commitments to work, family and perhaps meeting the needs of your child/children.

If any of these may be stimulating your cravings, try to reduce your load as much as possible by asking for help, taking some time for yourself, planning in a nap each day, and/or letting some things go (i.e. forget folding socks, live with a less clean house for while, let some chores slide).

If you feel that even with avoiding some of these triggers that you still haven't reduced your cravings for sweets, here is some good news: indulging in cravings for sweet foods now and again is likely to be harmless to you and the baby (if you are not experiencing gestational diabetes).

Many obstetricians routinely choose to give you a modified glucose tolerance test sometime after the third month to determine if you are experiencing gestational diabetes (or elevated blood glucose). If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, often the first line of treatment is to control your glucose with an eating plan that is low in simple carbohydrates (such as sweets) and adding an activity/exercise plan.

Assuming your pregnancy is not complicated by gestational diabetes, indulging in your cravings is okay in moderation, as long as you are not omitting more nutritious foods. Because candy can add empty calories, sugary snacks should be minimized if you are experiencing excessive weight gain. PregnancyAndBaby.com

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