Mmm, I could go for some Kingsford briquettes about now

Apparently pregnancy cravings are up. But why do mothers-to-be have a hankering for coal?

By Sarah Hepola

Published April 29, 2008 1:20PM (EDT)

Apparently pregnancy cravings are up. A recent survey found that 75 percent of the expectant women interviewed had a hankering for specific things, as opposed to 30 percent five decades ago. I suspect this has more than a little to do with the power of suggestion -- thanks to a bazillion mediocre comedies, we all know about pregnancy cravings. Pregnant women are expected to have some crazy yen for, like, bananas and curry. It's as much a part of the childbearing ritual as shopping for a crib and opening exquisitely wrapped diaper genies in front of old women you don't really know. Most fathers-to-be I've known actually get a kick out of a midnight run to Circle K to pick up Vlasic pickles or Häagen-Dazs. At least, the first 20 times they do it.

What struck me about the BBC story, however, was this: The survey "found a third of cravings were not for food, but items such as coal, soap, toothpaste and sponges." Umm, are those really pregnancy cravings? What separates a pregnancy craving from, say, a grocery list? I've never had a child, so someone is going to have to explain this one to me. I'm actually craving a little Lever 2000 right now. Uh-oh. Is my body trying to tell me something?

Sarah Hepola

Sarah Hepola is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, "Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget."

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