Pregnancy can make you crave all sorts of smells that you may not usually like! It’s common for expecting moms to suddenly enjoy the scents of things like fresh-cut grass, cleaning products, gasoline, and wood. The good news is that unusual smell cravings are very normal and typically harmless during pregnancy!
- Natural cravings can indicate your body needs certain nutrients. The smell of wood may be comforting and calming during pregnancy.
- Wood smells earthy and grounding. Enjoying this scent could help relieve stress and anxiety.
- Sniffing wood is a harmless craving to satisfy. It’s free and easy to do by visiting lumber or craft stores.
- Inhaling wood dust is dangerous, so resist sniffing sawdust or raw lumber. Stick to finished wood with less dust.
- Wood smells may overstimulate you or make you nauseous due to pregnancy’s heightened senses.
- People may give you weird looks for smelling wood in public.
Table of Contents
- Is It Normal to Crave the Smell of Wood When Pregnant?
- Possible Explanations for Wood Cravings
- Nutritional Needs During Pregnancy
- Pica Disorder and Non-Food Cravings
- When to See Your Doctor About Cravings
- Tips for Dealing with Wood Cravings
Is It Normal to Crave the Smell of Wood When Pregnant?
If you’re pregnant and suddenly can’t get enough of the smell of wood, you’re not alone! Many women report craving the scent of wood during pregnancy. But why does this happen? And is it normal? Let’s explore some possible explanations.
Possible Explanations for Wood Cravings
There are a few theories as to why pregnant women may crave the smell of wood:
1- Nostalgia and Comfort
The smell of wood can bring back warm memories and feelings of comfort. Many of us have fond associations with the scent of a wood fire, pine trees, cedar chests, or wooden furniture from childhood. Pregnancy hormones like progesterone and estrogen amplify emotions and sensations, making expectant moms even more sensitive to nostalgic triggers.
2- Soothing Properties
The earthy scent of wood has a grounding and soothing effect for many pregnant women. Hormonal changes can increase anxiety and restlessness during pregnancy. Sniffing wood may help calm the nervous system. The aroma is linked to lowered heart rate and blood pressure.
3- Nutritional Needs
Cravings can sometimes signal nutritional deficiencies. Wood contains trace minerals like zinc, iron, magnesium, and selenium. If you crave wood, perhaps your body is longing for these important nutrients that help baby develop and keep mom healthy.
4- Safety and Protection
From an evolutionary perspective, the scent of wood may subconsciously represent safety and shelter. The sturdy materials provided security and stability for our early ancestors. When expecting, women may intuitively seek cues of protection like the smell of wood.
Nutritional Needs During Pregnancy
To make sure you’re getting adequate nutrition for you and baby, focus on eating a balanced diet with these key nutrients:
- Protein – Helps build baby’s tissues and organs. Choose fish, poultry, eggs, beans, nuts.
- Calcium – Important for developing baby’s bones and teeth. Get from dairy, leafy greens, fortified juices.
- Iron – Prevents anemia and aids in oxygen circulation. Find it in red meat, spinach, lentils.
- Folic acid – Crucial for preventing neural tube defects. Take a prenatal vitamin and eat folate-rich foods like oranges, broccoli, avocado.
- Omega-3 fatty acids – Boost baby’s brain growth. Eat salmon, walnuts, flax seeds.
Stay hydrated and eat a color variety of fruits and veggies daily. Consult your doctor about supplements you may need. A balanced diet should provide sufficient nutrition without extreme cravings.
Pica Disorder and Non-Food Cravings
While wood cravings are usually harmless, in rare cases intense non-food cravings may signal a condition called pica. Pica is the urge to eat items with no nutritional value, like dirt, paper, or ice.
According to the CDC, pica affects an estimated 10–32% of pregnant women worldwide. The cause is unknown but may be linked to iron deficiency, stress, mental health factors, or unusual metabolism changes during pregnancy.
Some symptoms of pica include:
- Craving non-food items daily
- Actually eating or chewing on inedible things
- Excessive appetite for ice, paper, dirt, chalk, etc
- Anemia or low blood counts
Let your doctor know if you experience intense non-food cravings on an ongoing basis. Blood tests can check for nutritional deficiencies. Counseling and stress management tools may help in some cases. Pica often resolves after childbirth. Seek help if cravings are interfering with meals or causing health issues.
When to See Your Doctor About Cravings
Most cravings like wood during pregnancy are harmless. But mention it to your doctor if you:
- Crave non-food items like dirt, paper, soap or clay
- Eat things that are not food
- Have thoughts of consuming unsafe or toxic things
- Feel unable to control the cravings
- Crave non-food items daily or constantly
- Experience health issues like nausea, stomach pain or cuts in the mouth
- Have pica during more than one pregnancy
Unusual cravings may signal an underlying issue so don’t hesitate to bring it up. Your doctor can offer advice and reassurance about what’s normal. Most wood-sniffing cravings are temporary and nothing to worry about!
Tips for Dealing with Wood Cravings
If you just can’t get enough of wood scents, try these tips:
- Sniff wood essential oils like cedarwood or sandalwood. Much safer than actual wood!
- Surround yourself with the scent using wood diffusers, candles, or room sprays.
- Keep wood items close by – a cedar chest, tree ornament, wood picture frame. Take a sniff whenever the urge strikes.
- Sit outdoors under trees at a park or go hiking in the forest. Breathe in that piney aroma!
- Switch to natural wood or bamboo-scented soaps, shampoos or lotions.
- Ask your partner to wear a woodsy cologne. Snuggle up and enjoy their neck!
- Use visualization. Close your eyes and imagine the sights and scents of a lush forest.
- Distract yourself with other aromas – cut up a lemon, brew some chamomile tea, bake cookies.
- Talk to other moms about cravings at parenting groups or online forums. You’re not alone!
Satisfy food cravings with healthy snacks when needed. But avoid eating or chewing any non-food items, which could be harmful. Embrace your wood scent obsession as an amusing side effect of pregnancy hormones. And be sure to tell your funny wood-sniffing stories to Baby one day!
It’s surprisingly normal to crave smelling wood during pregnancy due to nostalgia, soothing properties, nutrition needs or safety instincts. But ongoing or intense non-food cravings could signal a condition like pica. See your doctor if urges seem uncontrollable or cause health issues. Use aromatherapy, visualization and distractions to safely satisfy wood scent cravings. And indulge in the comfort of your favorite tree scent while creating your little bundle of joy!
Wood cravings are likely caused by a combination of factors – nostalgia, hormonal changes, nutrition needs, and emotional instincts for comfort or safety.
While craving the smell of wood is common, actually chewing or eating wood is not normal and could be dangerous. Speak to your doctor right away if you have urges to consume non-food items.
For most women, wood cravings probably signify a nostalgic longing for the scents and sensations of childhood. Wood smells comfort and calm many expecting moms.
Simply smelling wood does not put you at risk for toxoplasmosis, which is contracted through undercooked meat and cat feces.
For a woodsy aroma without the splinters, try essential oils like cedarwood, sandalwood, pine, fir needle, cypress, and vetiver. Soaps, candles, and colognes may also satisfy wood scent cravings.