Most women experience food cravings at some point during pregnancy. While these cravings might be for a specific type of cuisine or unusual food, they typically include the desire for sweet, salty, spicy or fatty foods. Sometimes, even nonfood products serve as cravings. While these cravings are most likely the result of hormonal and metabolic changes that take place in a woman’s body, some propose that the baby’s sex can be revealed based on the nature of these cravings.
Pathophysiology of Cravings During Pregnancy
Cravings are a well-known and expected symptom of pregnancy. Several theories exist for such food related urges. Hormonal changes are known to alter taste and smell, which might explain the desire for specific, sometimes unusual foods. A temporary nutritional deficiency because of the high nutrient needs of the baby is also a possibility. A lack or shortage of specific nutrients might lead to the heightened need to consume these nutrient-rich foods. Food intake is also known to be connected to women’s emotions. During pregnancy, women might crave specific foods, consciously or unconsciously, as a response to emotional needs. Another explanation is that cravings serve as an early means of deciphering the baby’s sex as certain foods correlate to the sex of the baby.
Some pregnant women experience pica, a craving for nonfood items such as chalk, dirt, laundry starch or clay. Pica is a compulsive eating disorder that causes individuals to crave items not generally intended for consumption. The website Baby Center reports that the best explanation for pica cravings is the body’s attempt to obtain vitamins and minerals that might be lacking in the diet. These desires have been associated with specific nutritional deficiencies. For example, cravings for ice and laundry starch are linked with an iron deficiency; chocolate with a magnesium shortage; chalk or dirt with a lack of essential fatty acids; and more normal cravings such as red meat for protein or peaches for carotene. In many cases, when supplements were ingested, the pica symptoms were resolved.
It's a Girl
Many individuals believe that the abnormal cravings during pregnancy are actually caused by the sex of the baby, according to the website Pregnancy Info Net. For example, if a pregnant woman primarily craves sweets, such as chocolate and candy, or dairy products, especially milk, it is said that she will have a girl. Unfortunately there's no evidence to back this up. So, even if you're craving chocolate cake your entire pregnancy, you could still be having a boy.
It's a Boy
If a woman craves sour, salty, spicy or protein-rich foods, it's thought that it could mean she is having a boy, according to the website Consumer Genetics. Some think the sex of the baby is most likely a boy when pregnant women enjoy sucking on lemons or become meat lovers, even if these foods were not previously consumed or were disliked. Again, there's no scientific proof to back this up though.
The only scientific method to reliably predict the sex of a baby is to undergo prenatal testing such as an ultrasound after the 20th week of pregnancy. While the nature of cravings during pregnancy might have some truth behind it, it is one of many wives tales used to determine the baby’s sex. More accurately, cravings are a result of hormonal changes, nutritional needs and psychological changes.