Pregnancy takes you to the peak of cravings, which includes craving spicy foods during pregnancy. Carvings for spicy food generally occur during the first trimester, but does this mean anything? According to a study of 635 pregnant women, most craved sweet foods like ice creams and desserts. Cravings for spicy foods were another common craving. The same study showed that about 3.3% of women craved foods like spices, chili, and curry.
Now there are not any specific reasons for these cravings towards spice. According to researchers, the possible reasons might be nutrient deficiencies, hormonal changes, or the desired food may have certain ingredients.
Does Craving Spicy Food Mean Anything?
Pregnancy cravings can be confusing and weird. You might have tried weird combinations by the hands of these cravings, such as having ice cream and pickles or tuna and crackers. You might wonder what may be the reason for these cravings, but the truth is that none of us know the exact reason. Many myths float around the internet regarding the topic, but science has not proven anything yet.
Some cultural superstitions link the cravings towards the indication that a child may be a boy but still, there are no scientific proof. No solid evidence exists to these myths and superstitions but researchers present some theories as to what might be the reasons for these pregnancy cravings. These are as follows:
- Social and cultural factors
- Hormonal changes
- Existence of specific ingredients or compounds in foods that the body may desire
- Nutritional deficiencies
Another possibility could be that you’re craving comfort food, various sorts of spicy foods are cultural staples as well, and maybe they’re your favorite foods or your comfort food so might crave them during this time period.
The First Trimester and Spice Cravings:
The cravings usually start and are at their peak during the first trimester, but it may seem like a joke since the morning sickness is at its peak during the same as well. It’s not wrong for you to have some deliciously spicy foods, although they’re not popular for being easy on your stomach.
Sometimes, it can only aggravate your morning sickness with no severe side effects.
The Second and Third Trimesters:
It’s not like spicy foods can affect your health on a larger scale. However, it can cause some side effects that may prove unpleasant during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. These can be any of the following:
- Heartburn, as the growing baby forces up the stomach acids.
- Bloating and diarrhea
- Gatroesophagul reflux
Is Having Spicy Food During Pregnancy Safe for the Baby?
A study shows that the type of food you consume can change the amniotic fluid’s flavor. However, there has been almost no research on how spicy foods specifically can affect the amniotic fluid.
On the bright side, spicy foods are entirely safe for your baby, so you can enjoy whatever spices you’re craving. It is possible that it could affect your baby’s taste buds, and they may grow fond of familiar flavors later on in life.
Are These Spicy Foods Safe for You?
As mentioned before, the spicy foods you crave are not harmful to the baby but can trigger different and unpleasant side effects for you in different stages of pregnancy. This may not be as much during the first trimester but it can get uncomfortable during the second and third trimesters.
If you’ve started craving spice only after getting pregnant, you’d want to be slow as it may cause GI distress. To balance out the spice you’ve consumed, ensure you stay hydrated throughout the day and have plenty of fluids. Also, it would be wise to start slow with an adequate spice level to high rather than jumping to the high levels directly.
What’re the Commonly Craved Spicy Foods?
There’s a wide range of variety in spicy foods at different levels of spice that may suit your tastebuds. According to the internet, some of the commonly craved spicy foods are as follows:
Flaming Hot Cheetos:
Although flaming hot Cheetos is popular among youngsters and is a favorite stack among teenagers, it has also gained fame among pregnant women. They’re both salty and spicy and are not only eaten as chips, but its crumbs are also used as a coating in frying chicken and cheese sticks and other food items. The craving for this salty and spicy food product may also indicate that you may actually be craving salt and not spice. It would be best if you were careful with the amount you eat as it can cause bloating due to the high salt content and stomach aches.
Spicy Meat Dishes:
These dishes include stew, barbeque, curry, soups, and many more. Different dishes contain different types and different levels of spice. However, soups, stews, and curries are best to keep everything in balance, such your sugar level and your hunger. If you’re cooking at home, that would be a better idea as you can adjust the spice level according to yourself.
During this pregnancy period, you might crave spicy items, such as chilies and peppers. You’ll want to top everything with jalapeños or keep hot sauce alongside every dish. Too much consumption of these can cause heartburn or irritate the gut. Keep notice of how many of these you’re having.
Spicy and Salty Foods:
As mentioned before, spice and salty foods are usually in combination, which can indicate your cravings for salty food. These can also be in combination with sour and tangy foods, which is common in pregnancy cravings. Although these cravings are present, they do not have any link between them.
If spicy food is a part of your daily diet, there’s a good possibility that it’s the salty food you’re craving. The exact reason for these cravings has not yet been discovered.
Spicy Foods and its Link to Induction of Labor:
As you reach the end of your pregnancy, many elderly people might be coming and suggesting you to eat spicy foods to give the labor a jumpstart. The superstitions were so widespread that researches were carried out to study them. No scientific evidence was found for this, although some people claimed that they had spicy food to induce labor.
If you’re in perfectly good condition with no dilation, there’s no way you can induce labor just by swallowing a bowl of spicy curry or munching on some hot crisps.
You might think that you might deal with the heartburn later but satisfy the craving with some spicy comfort foods. You should know it is not as easy. Your pre-pregnancy heartburns are easier to deal with, while getting rid of pregnancy heartburn is tough. You should also know that not all OTC medications to treat the conditions are safe to use during pregnancy. Seek medical attention in severe GI issues such as cramping, pain, and bloating.
Hopefully, the article has provided enough information regarding your pregnancy cravings for spicy foods. Spicy foods would not hurt you or your baby, and you can fulfill your cravings without the guilt.
One suggestion is that if you’re consuming spices, keep your body hydrated and balance your diet with other healthy nutritional foods for you and your baby.