Radio Aire presenter Caroline Verdon reveals strange pregnancy craving

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I think I have the weirdest pregnancy craving in Leeds, writes Radio Aire presenter Caroline Verdon.

When I was pregnant with my three-year-old I craved avocados, spicy salads and vinegar on everything. This time round it’s really different. For a while it was tinned fruit and salads but now things have taken an altogether stranger turn.

I know that some people crave odd things like eating chalk or coal.

Zena in Horbury called us this week to say she liked pickled onions dipped in custard and there is no denying how completely peculiar that is but my craving isn’t for a food. It’s for a smell.

For the last month, my extremely strong craving has been for the smell of chlorine on my skin after I’ve had a swim. I literally cannot get enough. I find it calming and it really helps to de-stress me (and yes I am aware how weird this is).

I’m not usually a smell person – sure I’ve got the odd bubble bath and bottle of perfume but I’ve never been one to have a cupboard full of LUSH products.

We try to do a weekend family swim each week with our little boy but that wasn’t enough - I found an aquanatal class so I was in the pool twice a week. While that worked for a while, I’ve had to up it again this week so I’m in the pool three times in seven days in order for the smell to remain on me most of the time.

My aquanatal class is with one of the midwives from St James’ Hospital and it’s great. You get to meet other mums, you can ask all the birth or pregnancy questions you like and there is some exercise involved as well but that really isn’t the pull for me. It’s what lingers in my nostrils after the swim sesh and it’s something I look forward to all day. I go on a Wednesday night and this week, all Wednesday daytime I had that buzzing feeling that you used to get as a kid when you knew a friend was coming to your house after school for their tea.

That feeling of excitement where every now and then you’d forget and then you’d remember and a huge smile would appear on your face without you even realizing and you just couldn’t wait for the end of school bell to go. This was me on Wednesday, just pumped knowing later that evening as I went to bed I could have take in a good lungful as I tried to doze off to sleep.

I’ve known it is weird ever since I started looking forward to it but I also knew it was slipping from weird to wrong when I started washing my hair before I got into the pool and not having a shower at all when I got out just so the smell lingered for longer.

Last week I then made the situation a whole lot worse when I mentioned my weirdness to Michael who I was doing the Radio Aire breakfast show with while Ant was on his holidays. Turns out he used to be in a swim team and knew quite a bit about the smell of chlorine. He then told me something I never needed to know. If you lick your dry skin after you’ve been swimming, the smell of chlorine is stronger. Cue me sitting at traffic lights at the Armley Gyratory licking my arm and sniffing and accidentally making eye contact with a person in the car next to me. If that was you I apologise, I think I scarred them for life. Yesterday I got home from work around lunchtime, had a little nap and then took my toddler out for the afternoon. All afternoon I was thinking about being in the pool. I started wondering some more about how I can make the smell stick for longer and I came to the conclusion that going into the pool with dry hair would be better, so I legged it home, washed and blow dried my hair, put my shoes on, and then headed for the pool, coiffed and ready.

After my session I essentially drip dried for as long as possible and the result is that today I smell incredible. I’ve no idea how long this strange obsession is going to last but in the meantime, if you see a peculiar woman stuck in traffic around Armley joyously licking her own arm, know that its’s me and that I’m sorry (not sorry).