Why Do Some People Crave Spicy Food When Pregnant?

Pregnancy is a time when your body is going through a ton of different changes. Of course, there's the excitement of knowing a tiny you is on the way, but pregnancy symptoms aren't all fun and games. Many people experience a variety of unpleasant symptoms including nausea, fatigue, increased urination, and even nasal congestion during pregnancy (via Mayo Clinic). One symptom you're liable to hear anyone whose pregnant mention is having food cravings. 

We're not talking about the food cravings you get after watching a particularly yummy fast food commercial on TV. Flo, a popular app for period tracking and reproductive health, calls pregnancy cravings "PMS on steroids" — that's because you never know what kind of food your body will be craving next. Pregnancy cravings seem to come on suddenly and could have you clamoring for foods completely unrelated to your usual go-to snacks. One minute you could be craving chocolate, the next minute your body is demanding to be fed a dozen tart pickles and a tub of mint ice cream.

But what does it mean when you're pregnant, and you find yourself craving something spicy?

The myth about pregnancy and craving spicy food

There's no shortage of pregnancy myths floating around out there. From what foods you can and can't eat while pregnant to the way you carry your belly, everyone's heard at least one pregnancy myth that someone wholeheartedly believes. One such myth has to do with craving spicy food. 

Many pregnant people believe that craving spicy food is a sure sign you'll be having a boy at the end of the pregnancy. Healthline explains that these myths should be taken with a grain of salt. The real culprit of craving any kind of food boils down to your hormones.

The medical professionals at The Right Parenting agree that craving spicy food is completely normal and is even to be expected. The old wives' tale about spiciness being a predictor of your child's gender isn't supported by any scientific evidence. While it might sound cool to think the kind of food you're craving will help you predict whether you'll have a boy or a girl, this myth has been debunked.

Is spicy food safe for pregnant people to eat?

Now that we've gotten to the bottom of the spicy food craving myth, you might be wondering if it's safe for you to eat while pregnant.

For all you lovers of peppers and extreme spicy flavor, we have some good news. According to Verywell Family, spicy food is perfectly safe to eat while pregnant and won't harm you or your baby. Spicy foods can even be beneficial for a developing baby. Not only does it expose your baby to new tastes (no worrying about having a picky eater in the future), but eating spicy foods while pregnant could also lower your risk of heart disease. Bring on the hot wings and lamb rogan josh!

Even though spicy food has been deemed safe for pregnant people to eat, it's still best to practice caution if you find eating it makes you nauseous or causes any other health concerns. Spicy food can often be the culprit for heartburn (via WebMD.)