Savannah Guthrie bought a jar of dill pickles and declared herself “a walking/talking pregnancy cliché” and chalked up the purchase to an “impulse buy.”
It prompted TODAY to ask readers about the foods they craved during pregnancy. The answers ranged from the stereotypical pickles-and-ice cream to fresh citrus and French fries.
“Green beans of all things!” wrote Facebook user Jennifer Barr Daniels. “I was so mad I didn't want ice cream the entire time I was pregnant!! What kind of crazy person craves green beans?!?”
Emily Schaff wrote she wanted apples but they had to be a certain kind: Honey crisp.
“I couldn’t get enough!” she wrote.
Rachael Wilson Duffner said her cravings varied with each pregnancy.
“Salsa with the first child, raw cookie dough with the second!” she said.
Meanwhile, Lisa Port Vaillanscourt said she craved the only thing that helped calm her queasy stomach.
“Sweet Tarts. Only things that didn't make me throw up,” she said.
A pregnant woman’s heightened sense of smell and taste have to do with extreme change of hormones surging through her body.
Nutritionist and author Judith Brown, who writes college text books on the subject, said pregnancy cravings are indeed genuine but for most women “they don’t mean much at all.”
“Food cravings are real but when you look at the kinds of food cravings, they’re benign,” she said.
There are exceptions. Extreme cravings for "pica," or items like ice, clay, dirt or similar items that lack nutritional value, are linked with iron deficiency, although indulging in the item doesn’t address the deficit in any way, Brown said.
Some mothers swear that what they ate during pregnancy left a lingering effect on their kids.
“Watch out, with my son it was fresh fruit and raw veggies and he's my healthy eater,” wrote Cathy Higgins Wetzel. “With my daughter I craved chocolate and now...so does she!”
As many as 85 percent of women report craving foods or combinations of foods they never would have eaten prior to pregnancy, said Elizabeth Somer, author of "Nutrition for a Healthy Pregnancy." Pre-pregnancy spinach salads might be replaced with frozen macaroni-and-cheese dinners, she said. One woman might crave foods she ate as a child, another woman will eat egg-salad sandwiches at every meal.
Brown said it's fine to indulge in your cravings, as long as you don't overdo it.
"Enjoy your new-found taste for something. Have some fun with it as long as your diet stays good and you’re not gaining too much weight," she said.
That's because once you give birth, those cravings tend to disappear, if they haven't already in the weeks before labor.
"Cinnamon buns. I never ate them before," Brown said about her own pregnancy craving. "I had to stop at the college union and have one every morning."
After her pregnancy?
"I haven't had once since," she joked.