Is It Normal to Crave Junk Food in the First Trimester?

Sweet or salty -- junk food can offer you a feeling of comfort or satisfaction. This may be the reason most women crave junk food during the first trimester of pregnancy. While junk food may be okay in moderation during pregnancy, it is not the best food for a pregnant woman to eat. Consider the benefits of eating something more nutritious before giving in to your craving.

It is normal to crave junk food during pregnancy. (Image: Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images)

The Junk Food Craving

Many women crave junk food during the first trimester because of how it makes them feel afterward. Sweet and salty food often contains a large amount of carbohydrates. After eating carbohydrates your body releases a hormone known as insulin. Insulin reduces the amino acid content of your blood except for one -- tryptophan. This is the precursor to serotonin, the feel good hormone. When tryptophan enters the brain, serotonin is produced and released making you feel content.

Problems with Eating Junk Food

The problem with eating junk food, particularly in the first trimester, is that it is filled with empty calories. This means you are eating a large amount of calories without fulfilling any of the extra nutrition your body needs during this crucial stage of prenatal development.

Vitamins and Minerals

When you are pregnant your body needs extra calories, vitamins and minerals. Though you can take a prenatal vitamin for the extra nutrients, a vitamin can't provide all that you need. In addition, it is best that you get as much nutrition through your diet as possible. Junk food does not provide the nutrition you and your growing baby need.

Weight Gain

Junk food is calorie dense, meaning it provides a large amount of calories for a small serving. It's true that you should be gaining weight during pregnancy, but only about 4 lbs. during the first trimester according to the March of Dimes website. Gaining too much weight can be bad for both you and your baby. Excess weight gain can lead to hypertension or gestational diabetes for you. Gaining too much weight can lead to a premature or large baby, which can be associated with poor health.

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