A Nigerian man, identified as Jae, has ignited a fierce online debate by asserting that pregnancy cravings are an “emotional setup” perpetuated through generations to “stress men.”
Jae’s controversial statement, made on social media, challenges the widely accepted belief that pregnant women experience physical yearning for specific foods. Instead, he contends that these cravings are a product of social conditioning and societal expectations.
“Women don’t have any cravings during pregnancy,” he boldly stated. “It’s an emotional setup handed down through generations to stress men.”
His remarks triggered swift criticism from both women and medical professionals. Many women shared their firsthand experiences of intense and inexplicable hankering during pregnancy, emphasising the tangible, physiological nature of these desires.
“Pregnancy cravings are not an ’emotional setup,'” countered one woman. “They are real, physical sensations that many women experience.”
Medical experts joined the discussion, providing scientific backing for the existence of pregnancy cravings. They explained that hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy can alter taste and smell perception, leading to specific food cravings.
“Pregnancy cravings are a well-documented phenomenon with a physiological basis,” affirmed one doctor in the comment section. “They are not simply an ’emotional setup.'”
Despite the overwhelming scientific evidence and personal testimonies, Jae stood firm in his belief, insisting that pregnancy cravings are a social construct.
“Women are conditioned to believe that they have these cravings,” he argued. “It’s a societal expectation that has been passed down from generation to generation.”
The debate surrounding pregnancy cravings underscores the importance of evidence-based discussions on women’s health and experiences. Emphasising the need for scientific research and personal accounts, it highlights the complexity of addressing the realities of pregnancy.
While the exact cause remains unclear, certain theories propose that pregnancy hormones may enhance the sense of smell and taste, leading to the development of both cravings and aversions. Another line of thought suggests that the body’s cravings might be a compensatory mechanism for nutritional deficiencies, such as desiring ice cream for calcium or fruit for vitamin D.
Arnaldo Torres, MD, the Chair of OB/GYN at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital, emphasises that cravings during pregnancy can encompass a range of tastes, including sweet, salty, sour, or spicy. Furthermore, individual hankering may vary significantly throughout the course of a woman’s pregnancy.
Despite the physiological changes during pregnancy, maintaining a nutritious diet remains crucial when eating for two. Dr. Torres advises not to disregard cravings but rather to opt for healthier alternatives whenever possible. For example, if craving chocolate, he suggests indulging in small portions of dark chocolate. Choosing frozen yoghurt or sherbet over full-fat ice cream is a healthier option. For those craving salt, flavorful salt-free seasonings like garlic powder, balsamic vinegar, or salt-free Italian seasoning can be suitable alternatives. Additionally, thinly sliced roasted potatoes with a salt-free seasoning provide a healthier substitute for traditional potato chips, considering the importance of mindful eating during pregnancy.