What you Need to know About Pregnancy Cravings?

Pregnancy is a truly miraculous journey, one filled with awe and wonder. It is a unique time in a woman’s life, characterized by changes not just in her body but also her lifestyle, emotions, and, quite remarkably, her taste buds. Many expectant mothers will attest to the strange, new dietary preferences that often accompany pregnancy. These are popularly referred to as pregnancy cravings. When I was pregnant, I wanted to eat chicory salads all day. Just chicory with mayonnaise. Now I don’t even like it anymore.

Understanding Pregnancy Cravings

Contrary to popular belief, pregnancy cravings are not random whims but rather a common phenomenon that approximately 50-90% of pregnant women experience. The exact reason behind these cravings remains unclear; however, several theories exist.

Hormonal changes are the leading suspect. Pregnancy triggers a rollercoaster of hormones that can affect a woman’s sense of smell and taste, making certain foods more appealing. The body’s increased need for nutrients like iron, for instance, could create cravings for meat or spinach.

Moreover, cultural, psychological, and emotional factors are also thought to influence food cravings. For example, comfort foods often emerge as a common craving due to their association with positive feelings and memories.

Cravings can vary widely from person to person. Some may crave specific foods like pickles or ice cream, others may desire unusual food combinations such as peanut butter and pickles, while some women may crave non-food items, a condition known as pica.

It’s essential to understand that while cravings are normal during pregnancy, they should be managed appropriately to ensure both maternal and fetal health.

Meeting Nutritional Needs

A craving for specific foods might be your body’s clever way of asking for particular nutrients. A longing for oranges or other citrus fruits could indicate a need for more Vitamin C. Similarly, a sudden hankering for red meat might mean your body requires additional iron. It’s wise to listen to these signals, but remember to keep your dietary choices balanced and nutritious.

However, not all cravings point towards nutritional needs. Some cravings might lean towards high-sugar or high-fat foods, which, while fine in moderation, should not be the cornerstone of your diet.

Handling Cravings

  1. Mindful Eating: Pay attention to your body’s hunger cues and maintain a regular eating schedule. Often, we might mistake hunger for a specific craving. Regular, nutritious meals can help to curb these feelings.
  2. Healthy Substitutions: If you crave unhealthy snacks, try substituting them with healthier options. Craving something sweet? Consider having a piece of fruit or yogurt. If it’s salty snacks that you’re after, try nuts or seeds instead of reaching for the bag of chips.
  3. Moderation is Key: Cravings can sometimes lead to overeating. It’s okay to give into your cravings occasionally, but try to do so in moderation.
  4. Stay Hydrated: Sometimes, our bodies confuse thirst with hunger. Make sure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day.

When Pregnancy Cravings Indicate a Problem: Pica

In some cases, pregnant women may crave non-food substances like clay, dirt, laundry starch, or ice. This is known as pica, and it can be harmful to both the mother and the baby. If you find yourself experiencing these types of cravings, it’s important to speak to your healthcare provider immediately.

Now that’s that

Cravings are a normal part of pregnancy, and in many cases, they can be an amusing anecdote to your pregnancy journey. However, it’s vital to keep an eye on what and how much you’re eating. Cravings should not dictate your diet; rather, balanced nutrition should be your goal. Always consult with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about your cravings or diet during pregnancy.

Pregnancy is a beautiful journey – one that is occasionally sprinkled with a dash of pickles on ice cream. Embrace these oddities, these cravings, and remember that you’re growing a new life. That, in itself, is nothing short of magical.

Please note that I speak from personal experience. For substantiated information, we always recommend that you take a look at the WHO.

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Margaux Luyten


Adventure-loving mom blogger. Breastfeeding from December ’21. Sharing her insight on pregnancy and motherhood while embracing a healthy & active lifestyle. 

Margaux Luyten

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