From the very second you know you are pregnant, you crave for various foods that you never liked before. But, are all these cravings healthy? Is it okay to crave for salt when pregnant? And, why do you crave so much for that bag of salted chips? Read on to know!
Is It ok To Crave Salt When Pregnant?
You may be surprised by the sudden increment in your appetite for salt during pregnancy. Women, particularly in the early pregnancy stage, crave for salty food. What’s more, the desire for salt is aroused at odd times, sometimes in the middle of sleep. You may be concerned with this issue, considering the effect of salt on blood pressure. So, is salt harmful for you during pregnancy?
If you want to hear a one-word answer, it is ‘no’. However, excess salt is harmful for you during pregnancy. While salt has a number of benefits during this time, you should also take care not to have it in excess. Read on to know how much salt you actually need during pregnancy.
Why does the craving for salt increase during pregnancy?
A statistic reveals that more than 50% of the women crave for excess salt during pregnancy. One of the theories associated with the instinct is that the body desires more water retention capacity during this stage. Salt helps in this water retention process. Pregnant women are likely to experience the loss of sodium through urine. This takes place particularly during the first trimester. Differences in the level of progesterone in the body are one of the causes for the loss of sodium. Morning sickness is another syndrome during pregnancy. This, too, leads to the loss of sodium. Salt helps you to replenish the lost minerals in the body. Naturally, your body will need more salt during this period.
A common myth associated with salt is the determination of your baby’s gender. People popularly believe that you will have a boy in case you desire for salt. However, this is just a myth with no scientific base.
What to do during salt cravings?
Interestingly, you have nothing to fear if you have normal salt cravings. Try out vegetable soups or pickles. There is no need to keep yourself away from salt simply because you are afraid. Unless your doctor prescribes restrictions on salt, you need not cut your salt consumption levels. In fact, salt is beneficial during pregnancy due to a number of reasons.
Benefits of salt during pregnancy
- During pregnancy, the requirement for blood increases in the body. This happens because your baby, growing inside your body, also receives blood from your body. Salt intake maintains the proper volume of blood, thereby providing adequate supply to the baby. Inadequate blood flow in the body results in developmental problem and deformities in the child. It may even result in the death of foetus.
- Adequate volume of blood is necessary for the maintenance of cardiovascular, nervous and respiratory systems in the child. It helps to maintain the necessary metabolic activities.
- According to a research, lack of salt is associated with underweight babies. This happens as the foetus receives low amounts of sodium due to the scarcity of salt. In case your infant is born with low weight, it causes several health problems in the long run. These include diabetes, heart ailments, kidney problems and high sugar levels in the blood.
- Moreover, salt helps to develop the glial cells, present in the brain and optimizes the overall functioning of the baby’s body.
- The learning experiences and memory levels in children are sharpened later in their lives, as salt supplies several minerals to the foetus.
Problems you might face due to extra salt consumption
- Swelling of feet: Excess consumption of salt may result in swelling of your feet. This happens during the later stages of pregnancy. The water retention capacity increases in the body. This excess fluid causes your feet to swell. However, it is a mere discomfiture and nothing serious is associated with swelling of feet.
- Loss of calcium: Increased intake of sodium in your body results in loss of calcium through urination. It may result in weak bones and nails. The best option is to go for a calcium supplement, as recommended by your doctor.
Read More: How Much Salt is Good for Your Kids?
However, compared to the discomfiture you may experience, the benefits have a far greater positive impact in your infant’s life. You can try out other options for salt if you are not comfortable with table salt. An optimum salt intake is ideal during pregnancy to ensure the health of the baby.