Why Do Some Pregnant Women Crave Carbs?

pregnant woman eating pizza

Recently I saw a post on-line where a Pregnant woman listed her rapidly increasing carb intake and posed the question, 'Why Do Some Pregnant Women Crave Carbs'?  Well obviously, there are a list of great and not-so-great choices (cue the massive pizza above) but in general.....everything is very much on track if you feel the need to consume more carbohydrate when Pregnant and this is the 'science bit' version.....

Firstly, there is a natural increase in the metabolic rate during Pregnancy by approximately by approximately 15-20% at rest.   So indeed the calorific requirements do increase but before clients start eating for two, it might be useful to let them know that even towards the very end of the total gestation period, most Pregnant women only require an extra 200-300 extra calories!  Nutrient density is key hear as opposed to increasing volume and overall calories.

So, why do some Pregnant women crave carbs more?  Most of the answer lies in the role of the hormone Human Placental Lactogen (hPL), also called Human Chorionic Somatomammotropin (HCS).  hPL is a placental hormone similar to Human Growth Hormone (hGH) that modifies the metabolic state of the mother during to ensure that her primary source of energy is fat and that of the developing foetus is carbohydrate to ensure an easy-to-access energy source for the foetus.   hPL has an anti-insulin effect and so decreases insulin sensitivity leading an increase in maternal blood glucose levels whilst increasing overall metabolic rate.

Overall, the mother's ability to utilize glucose is also decreased which helps to ensure adequate foetal nutrition should the worst befall the mother and she suffer malnutrition during her Pregnancy.  At it's extreme, when maternal blood sugar levels remain consistently high, the Pregnant woman may develop Gestational Diabetes (GD) which can both be controlled by lifestyle/nutritional changes and medication as necessary but will be monitored closely throughout the woman's Pregnancy and may alter how she gives birth due to the potential for GD babies to grow to larger sizes by term.  In these cases, C--Sections become more likely.

As with many 'conditions of Pregnancy' the vibrations of GD can remain way into the Post Natal period and recent research suggests that those experiencing GD are more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes later on in their lifetime as well as increasing the potential for the disease in their offspring!  So a great incentive to truly guide the client to making better 'carb' choices when the cravings hit, not only for personal health but for the long term health of her child.

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Are you ready to go deeper and truly modernise your functional fitness and birth preparation skills with the Pregnant client?  If YES, then you'll LOVE this course created by Jenny Burrell and Kaisa Tuominen of Fitness Integral.....Advanced CPD in Modern Functional Pregnancy Exercise and Birth Preparation Programming.  This course is internationally accredited by NASM and the Register of Exercise Professionals in the UK.

 

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