Have a hankering for comfort food? Or do just have to have extra salty snacks all time? Don’t worry, you’re not going crazy!
Unusual cravings, food aversions and changing taste buds are just another delightful part of the pregnancy package for a lot of women. No two women crave exactly the same foods but there are some more common cravings that you could be experiencing, which you might want to learn more about.
We’re here to answer all your curiosities about craving, so buckle up and get ready to embrace the new exciting (and weird) culinary world of pregnancy cravings.
When do pregnancy cravings start?
You might notice your cravings starting relatively early in your pregnancy, often developing around the third to eighth week of your first trimester – some women even notice their cravings before they know they’re pregnant! Cravings can also regularly coincide with morning sickness, which typically arises around the six-week mark.
During your second trimester, you might notice your cravings or food aversions are at their peak, so get ready to bulk buy ice cream, cream cheese and apples – or whatever it is you’re into. In your third trimester, your cravings will probably cool down a little and then significantly drop after the birth of your little one. Although you might have discovered some new faves that you just can’t live without.
Why do women have cravings during pregnancy?
Your body is going through massive hormonal, physical and psychological changes while you’re pregnant… you are literally growing another human being. That is bound to affect your sense of smell, taste and appetite in loads of different ways – which, in turn, affects what you want to eat.
There are also some studies that suggest your cravings are what your body needs during pregnancy. For instance, you could be craving more calcium or iron heavy foods. Within reason, the best thing to do is just roll with it – as long as you’re staying healthy and keeping a balanced diet, it’s perfectly ok to succumb to your cravings.
What are some common pregnancy cravings?
As we said, no two women are exactly the same! You might want pizza and only pizza (maybe pop some veg on top), while others might be sick at the thought of a margherita, it all depends on you. However, here is a list of some common cravings that many women experience…
- Chocolate: This is a huge one for obvious reasons, but our top tip is to try some dark chocolate too. Dark is a lot more nutritious than milk or white chocolate* so a bit better if you’re munching your way through Willy Wonka size portions. *According to Healthline
- Spicy food: Don’t worry, spicy food is not bad for your baby while pregnant and many women crave anything with a couple of chillies next to its name when they’re at their peak of cravings. A good tip is to make sure to stay hydrated to try and avoid indigestion or heartburn.
- Pickles: Don’t ask why, no one knows. Many women crave salty and sodium filled foods when pregnant, but out of the many, many options (crisps, olives, nuts), it always comes back to pickles.
- Ice cream: Sweet foods are always a big hit with pregnant women and honestly, bring it on. By the end of your pregnancy, you’ll have gone through so many different Ben & Jerry’s flavours, you’ll be a connoisseur. If you do think it’s getting a little out of hand, though, you can always switch to low-fat frozen yoghurt.
Craving salt during pregnancy
Like we said, many women find themselves craving super salty foods while pregnant. This could be down to your body asking for more of what it needs during pregnancy – so if you have a thirst for salt, you might be lacking some sodium in your diet.
While crisps, fries and salted peanuts are all tasty options, if you’re really trying to tackle that salt craving in a healthy way, naturally salty foods are a great way to do so. Things like soy sauce, avocado, dairy products, bread and – dare we say it – pickles are a great way to subside your salty appetites.
Sugar cravings during pregnancy
Cravings for sugar are fierce during pregnancy – possibly unlike any other. So, if your sweet tooth has majorly grown recently, feel free to chalk that up to cravings. This one probably isn’t trying to give your body what it needs, though, and could get a little risky if you’re not consuming in moderation.
A good way to tackle this is to make sure you’re taking in a lot of protein and fats to level out your blood sugar. We’re absolutely not telling you to put the Haribo’s down, but just make sure your diet is balanced and you’re kind to yourself while pregnant.
Craving cold things during pregnancy
Many women find that they’re put off by hot dinners and wish for something room temperature or cold to satisfy their needs. Some cold cravings, like really cold milk or ice cream (again), can be down to the need for calcium in your diet. But others, such as ice, could be down to food aversion, rather than cravings – as ice doesn’t have a specific flavour.
To be honest, this one is probably a blessing in disguise. At least craving freezing cold water or ice gets you hydrated! Especially if your preggers in the height of summer.
Craving fruit during pregnancy
Fruit is a very common and not at all crazy craving for pregnant women. This might mean that you have low blood sugar or your body is asking for more vitamin C. Plus, there is the age-old tale that if you’re craving fruit when you’re pregnant, you’re having a girl (which is not at all proven, but you never know).
This craving can certainly be more beneficial than cravings for more unhealthier foods, however it’s good to remember that fruits are still very high in natural sugars so should also be consumed in moderation.
Healthy eating alongside pregnancy cravings
Healthy eating while you’re growing your little one is obviously super important. There’s no need to go on a super strict diet, but it’s still good to be mindful of keeping your meals balanced and getting all the nutrients you and your baby needs.
Cravings often try their best to get in the way of this – chocolate 24/7 would not necessarily be considered a balanced diet (darn) and lots and lots of sweets can definitely have some negative effects. But remember, your body needs healthy fats, sugars and salts and, as we said, your cravings could be telling you what your body needs in a good way.
If you feel like your cravings are getting out of hand, switch ice cream to frozen yoghurt, eat an avocado instead of a packet of crisps and make sure to stay hydrated and balanced. Curbing your cravings can be very tough but giving in once in a while is not the end of the world.