Everything You Need To Know About Pregnancy Cravings
If you’re carrying a little one, your eating habits change. Read on to learn about pregnancy cravings, what they are, and how to fuel your body the best.
Everything You Need To Know About Pregnancy Cravings
If you’re pregnant or expecting to be pregnant soon, you’re likely preparing your body and home for your new family member. This includes preparing or already starting to eat for two. However, in addition to eating for you and your little one, you’ll probably experience pregnancy cravings, too.
Pregnancy cravings are extra strong cravings for certain foods that you may have never liked before. For instance, even if you’ve never liked pickles, you may find yourself suddenly needing jars and jars of them. Or you may suddenly have the desire to eat spicy food or an entire steak.
You’ll likely also find yourself imagining food combinations you’ve never thought of before, like cheese and Oreos or pickles and ice cream or potato chips dipped in honey.
Whether you’re already beginning to experience pregnancy cravings or want to be prepared when they start, keep reading for everything you need to know.
When Do Pregnancy Cravings Start?
One of the most important questions to ask when preparing for your first few months of pregnancy is “when do pregnancy cravings start?”
Pregnancy cravings typically start during the first trimester, when you may also experience morning sickness, heartburn, fatigue, and the need to pee more often. Pregnancy cravings tend to get stronger during the second trimester, and they should fade away in the third.
However, every pregnancy is different, so if you don’t have pregnancy cravings during your pregnancy at all, don’t worry! Only 50 to 90 percent of women experience intense cravings while pregnant.
Why Do Pregnancy Cravings Occur?
What causes pregnancy cravings, and why do they occur? Many factors influence pregnancy cravings.
When you’re pregnant, your body is working overtime to keep you, and your baby nourished, healthy, and growing. Your baby is also developing at a rapid rate, which means your body never really gets a day off. Your hormones are also working overtime during pregnancy to keep your baby safe and help your body do what it needs to do. These hormonal changes can lead to intense food cravings associated with pregnancy.
Changes in smell and taste can also cause pregnancy cravings. When you’re pregnant, you may have an increase in your ability to smell and taste, making you want to try specific foods or food combinations. So, why do pickles taste way better when you’re pregnant than they ever have before? It may be because your taste is stronger.
What About the Opposite of Cravings?
You may also experience food aversions during the first trimester of your pregnancy. These are essentially the opposite of pregnancy cravings. A strong odor or taste may make you nauseous, and you may not be able to eat this food for most or all of your pregnancy.
Here are the most common food aversions women have during pregnancy:
- Pregnant women commonly reject meat as the smell and texture of raw meat can lead to nausea.
- Meat can also carry dangerous bacteria for undeveloped babies in the womb if not properly cooked, and some researchers wonder if the aversion to meat is connected to this danger.
- Some women also experience a food aversion to eggs, fatty foods, spicy food, coffee, and alcohol.
Most Common Foods Pregnant Women Crave
If you’re wondering what you’ll crave during pregnancy or want to see if your pregnancy cravings are similar to the most common cravings, here’s a list of the most common foods pregnant women crave.
- Sweets and desserts like ice cream, candy, and chocolate
- Dairy products such as cheese, sour cream, and whipped cream
- Carbohydrates and starches, such as bread
- Fruits and vegetables like pickles and okra
- Fast food options like tacos, Chinese, pizza, or hot wings
- Unique food combinations, like carrots and ketchup, eggs and horseradish, and mushrooms with garlic and custard
Combinations of odd foods are particularly common, as are junk foods like french fries, cookies, snack cakes, and potato chips.
Are Pregnancy Cravings Ever Dangerous?
Pregnancy cravings can be very strong and sometimes change in an instant. It may come as a surprise, but some cravings may be dangerous. For instance, if you suddenly crave alcohol, drugs, or nicotine, it’s important to let your healthcare provider know. Craving alcohol and drugs are fairly rare during pregnancy but may still occur.
You may also experience potentially dangerous cravings known as pica.
Pica cravings are any cravings for inedible substances that have no nutritional value. The three most common pica cravings include dirt, clay, and laundry starch. There are other cravings, too, as you may crave things like burnt matches, rocks, soap, sand, coffee grounds, baking soda, or even cigarette ashes.
Many women even crave toothpaste, ice, cornstarch, mothballs, or charcoal. Thus, it’s important to tell your doctor if you’re experiencing pica cravings. While they are normal for some pregnancies, you should not eat these foods as they can be potentially dangerous, lead to a nutrient deficiency, and contain harmful bacteria.
Your doctor can help you manage pica cravings by chewing sugar-free gum and incorporating other alternatives. You can also tell your partner, family member, or close friend who can ensure you don’t eat non-food items.
Tips for Fueling Your Body
When your pregnancy cravings hit, you don’t always have to say no. As long as the foods you’re craving are safe, prepared in a safe manner, and cooked completely, you can indulge your cravings. If you’re craving foods that are rich in nutrition, like fruits and vegetables, you can snack on these often as long as you're getting a balanced diet, too.
However, if you’re cravings include sweets, junk food, and fast food, simple exercise in moderation. Eating french fries every now and then is fine, but giving in to every craving may not be ideal.
It’s also important to incorporate balance into your diet while pregnant. Even if you’re eating nutritious foods, if you’re not getting a variety of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, this can result in a deficiency.
The general rule of thumb is to choose foods with different colors and textures or “eat the rainbow.” Getting enough greens, reds, oranges, yellows, purples, browns, and white foods on your plate is a great way to ensure you have a balanced, varied diet.
Talk to your doctor about any vitamins or supplements you should be taking and whether or not your diet is varied enough.
Your Baby’s Nutrition Starts With You
What you eat while pregnant is important. This food is what fuels your baby’s development and helps them grow and stay healthy, and it keeps you healthy as well. Your baby’s nutrition starts with you.
From what you eat while pregnant, how you handle your relationship with food, and what you feed your little one when they’re able to start solids, you’re responsible for setting the stage for your little one’s nutrition from day one.
That’s why we made Yumi! With absolutely no unnecessary ingredients, fillers, pesticides, harmful chemicals, common allergens, gluten, or added sugars, and only the best organic, nutrient-rich ingredients, you can give your baby exactly what they need to thrive.
If you would like to learn more with Yumi, click here.