If you recall, I had a serious craving for beer a few months back, like just say the word beer, and my mouth would start salivating. Isn’t it enough that I already have what looks like a beer boep?…now I still have a desperate craving for BEER that could very well rival that of Homer’s on any given Sunday. And I mean, I don’t just crave like, oh a block of chocolate would do nicely right about now kind of craving…No, I’m talking, like the smell of beer gets me drooling; The sound of my hubby cracking open a cold one has me all Pavlov’ing and running just to come sniff it. I’m talking, I watch my hubby drink his beer, lustfully (the beer, not him)…(I mean him too, but, you know, more the beer right then.)..to the point that I can see it makes him feel uncomfortable being watched like that. Sometimes I interrupt him just to ask for a sniff…Sooo close to my lips, I could easily just slip in a sip right? But I don’t, cause: Preggers!! So I just silently watch him , smacking my lips unconsciously and sniffing deep sniffs until he eventually finishes it quickly to make me stop.
Quite an existence to have right? Well, thankfully that’s all in the past now. But it’s all still so weird for me. I’m not even a beer drinker. Ok, save for that amazing Singa Beer I had in Thailand with dinner once, and maybe that beer a friend handed to me as I crossed the finish line of the Impi Challenge years back –best freakin beer ever! (Thanks, Emlyn!) But other than that beer never really had a special place in my heart or tastebuds, so what was the deal then?
I took an overall dipstick observation of my well being: I suspected iron (I’ve been managing my iron levels since the age of 13 already, so I’m very familiar with how anaemia makes me feel) but this wasn’t the same. I didn’t see stars when I stood up, or felt that odd, off balance and light headedness I would normally feel. No, this time, I felt exhausted. Like breathing hard after doing simple tasks, low energy, low motivation, odd heart palpitations and just a general feeling of suckatude. So I figured it must be some other vitamin or mineral shortage then. ‘Cause of all the weird shit women crave due to anaemia (hello beach sand, car metal, laundry soap…) I had never heard of a beer craving before. And my research lead me to the fact that beer had loads of Vitamin B’s – so maybe that’s what I was lacking?
I eventually asked my gynae about my blood test results taken a few weeks back, and he assured me that my iron was 100% fine. But then I mentioned the beer craving, and he noted that that was usually a sign of iron deficiency. Hmmm….That was a good couple of weeks that those tests were taken, and there was a good chance that things changed in that time. So I didn’t dismiss it completely.
The symptoms of Beer
lusting craving and the stupid levels of exhaustion and lack of motivation to do anything that required me to get up out of bed became far too frustrating for me (and hubby). I mean, the first trimester is already hard as it is for me, what with all those new hormones – this wasn’t helping. So much so, that I decided to do something about it. So off hubby went to get a repeat of my usual iron prescription I used to take. And just like that, in three days time, I felt life return to my bones. The heart palpitations disappeared….and oh look! My hubby could finally drink a beer in peace! No more wifey just hanging around him for no good reason, an inch away from his face, sniffing him while he swallows. (thank you for putting up with your preggo wife, honey!)
Also, the energy returned, and I could climb stairs without feeling like I hated the world.
So for all you preggos with your Beer or similarly oddball cravings, with fat question marks over your head, here’s what it’s all about: Say hello to PICA!
Pica is the practice of craving non-food items or “things” with little to no nutritional value. Whilst the jury is still out on what actually causes it, there is a strong theory that a serious lack of vitamins or minerals may be the cause – most times it’s iron. This theory is backed up by the fact that most women who do sort out their deficiencies, no longer have the odd cravings.
So, if you’re preggers and have a hankering for
- • soap,
- • dirt,
- • ash,
- • mothballs
- • clay,
- • petrol,
- • beer,
- • sand,
- • cement,
- • unboiled rice,
- • laundry detergent,
- • licking of cars for that ”delicious” metal taste,
- • whatever, you name it!
…there’s a huge chance an iron deficiency is behind all of that craziness. Also don’t think that your symptoms of anaemia during pregnancy are going to show themselves the same way as when you’re not pregnant – huge chance that they’re not! Because, thanks to hormones and so much more, your body chemistry is not the same as it once was.
Now is a good time to review your diet, ensuring that you’re getting sufficient green leafy veg (spinach, swiss chard,etc) and lean red meat in your diet. Be sure your caffeine intake is limited to safe levels or steer clear of it entirely. Chat to your care provider about your symptoms and advice about getting the right supplement for you. (and ensuring that you rule out other possibilities)
Just remember, a few tips to ensure proper iron absorption;
- • Caffeine makes iron less available for absorption in the bloodstream, so best to steer of it, or in the very least, cut down on it.
• Review your diet to ensure that you’re consuming sufficient sources of iron.
• Get an excellent supplement, don’t half ass this by thinking a cheap off the shelf one will do the trick. Chances are those may mess with your tummy – either runny or constipated. And as a preggo who needs either of those issues right now! So chat to your gynae about giving you a prescription for a decent one that wont mess with your tummy. Our bodies are all different and react differently to the various supplements out there, so take your time in finding the one that’s right for you.
• Vitamin C aids the absorption of iron.
• Calcium and magnesium hinder the absorption of iron, so avoid taking them together. Try for at least an hour or two between. But preferably at complete opposite times of the day. (morning and evening)
Here’s to being aware of bodies, and choosing to nourish it and our babies with what is needed. Also, here’s to this crazy ride called pregnancy! X