Here's Why We Get Food Cravings While Pregnant

Here's Why We Get Food Cravings While Pregnant

Sometimes we might feel really in the mood for some Baskin Robbins. But how do you explain a weird food craving while pregnant, like pickles with ice cream?

Hankering for cheese toasties? Discovered a new found love for red velvet cake? Or maybe you just want guava on everything! During pregnancy, many women experience food cravings for specific foods, usually sweet than savoury. These cravings may have an underlying meaning to them beyond quirky changes in taste!

Why do we get food cravings?

food craving while pregnant

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According to Medical News Today, cravings might happen because of an imbalance between serotonin and leptin, hormones responsible for the reward and happiness. 

Although scientists still haven’t found out the exact mechanics behind food cravings, nutritionists widely believe they indicate what our bodies are lacking.

Let’s say you’re craving for some chips in the middle of the night. This might mean you need more energy, or calories.

Or if you really want to eat deep-fried chicken, your body might not have enough essential fatty acids.

While this makes sense in a general context, there’s a lot going on while you’re pregnant. The cravings may have slightly different implications.

What do food cravings while pregnant mean?

food craving while pregnant

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Food cravings during pregnancy are really common! Studies reported 84 per cent of women worldwide claimed to experience some sort of food craving. But is it any different from normal?

When it comes to explaining why food cravings during pregnancy happen, there are two schools of thought.

The first is similar to above; the body suffers from a dietary deficiency and is trying to tell you what it needs.

If you’re suddenly craving salty foods like French fries, this might mean you have low sodium levels in your blood. Find yourself reaching for a tub of cream? You may have low blood sugar.

As logical and functional as this sounds like, Professor Judith Brown of the University of Minnesota hasn’t found any concrete evidence linking food cravings to nutritional requirements.

But how do you explain weird cravings you get, like a sudden desire to eat wax or a handful of soil?

This phenomenon of wanting to eat non-foods is known as pica. It’s generally believed to be related to an iron deficiency.

For less extreme cravings, nutritionists have suggested that hormonal fluctuations that cause changes in smell and taste.

This might explain weird combinations you suddenly want, like ice cream with pickles. Or you might even be in the mood for coffee when you normally don’t drink coffee!

What you can do about your food cravings

food craving while pregnant

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While the jury is still out on why food cravings happen or are as strong as they are, take heart! There are steps you can take to minimise the impact of these impulses.

The best way to overcome food cravings is to stay ahead of the curve! 

1. Eat a balanced diet

food craving while pregnant

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You’ll have been told you’re eating for two. It’s important you’re not just eating enough, but eating the right stuff.

Having a balanced diet means getting enough protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Don’t forget about getting enough nutrients and vitamins to promote healthy growth for your little one!

2. Remember to eat at regular intervals

Mum-to-be, your body is undergoing a lot of physical change. All the aches, pains, and constant feeling of wanting to puke can make you feel like you don’t have an appetite.

To limit food cravings, eat at regular intervals instead of waiting for hunger pangs as your cue. You can split your meal times up so you eat up to six small meals each day.

3. Keep healthy snacks on hand

If you’re used to snacking, swap out junk food with healthier alternatives. Stock up on fruits and nuts so you can grab them nearby when you’re feeling peckish.

Also, remember to stop buying unhealthy food! If it’s not at home, you can’t be tempted to eat it!

4. Stay active

food craving while pregnant

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Doing exercise is a great way to stave off hunger pangs. It helps to control your hormone levels while providing a healthy distraction!

It might feel uncomfortable, but you can still exercise safely! Try swimming to keep your fitness levels up.

5. Pay attention to these cravings

Rather than fight against food cravings, you can still treat yourself with healthy alternatives. If you feel the need for ice cream, choose low-fat yoghurt instead. It still satisfies the sweet tooth and gives your body the sugar it’s yearning for.


Nutritionists worldwide think food cravings might be your body’s way of telling you it needs more of certain nutrients. It can feel a bit disorienting at first but take steps to stay ahead, mummy-to-be, and you’ll be just fine!

Beat food cravings by planning ahead.

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