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Weird Pregnancy Cravings

Katlyn Joy |21, August 2012


Pickles and ice cream. Jelly doughnuts at 3 am. Pregnancy cravings are one of the oddest aspects of pregnancy, and can lead to unhealthy situations in extreme cases. They can lead to strange grocery trips in most cases however.

Why we Crave Certain Foods During Pregnancy?

Blame it on, what else? Pregnancy hormones. For some reason, not yet understood, hormones during pregnancy will lead to a more sensitive sense of smell and taste. The same hormones that makes you retch when you smell eggs will make you crave burnt peanut butter toast.

Scientists have tried to theorize what role this may play in biology. For instance at one time did pregnant women develop an aversion to dangerous substances during pregnancy and crave nutritional foods? Were our evolutionary instincts confused by modern diets? We still don't have the answers.

General Pregnancy Cravings

Most women crave general tastes such as salty things, sour items, or sweets. Women particularly those with queasy stomachs may crave bland foods however.

Doctors have at times supported the idea that salty cravings may result from a need for sodium intake. However, women need to be careful to watch their diets for unhealthy patterns, even those driven by cravings.

Women may have aversions to healthy items while pregnant, such as dairy foods. If that should happen and you are worried about your calcium levels, just talk to your doctor about other calcium rich foods.

One positive about aversions is that many pregnant women find alcohol, cigarettes, and coffee sickening while expecting. This makes abstinence all the easier which is safe for mom and child alike.

Something to keep in mind is that the cravings and aversions should settle down in mid-pregnancy. This may conflict with the occasional woman who insists she should indulge her every gastronomical whim. For some, pregnancy gives you a diet blank check and that can lead to unhealthy weight gain and an increased risk of gestational diabetes and other pregnancy complications.

Common Cravings

1. Salty foods with a sharp flavor such as olives or pickles, or strongly flavored potato chips. If you are craving salts, especially in the early weeks of pregnancy, make sure you aren't feeling bloated. Also take care to drink plenty of water.

2. Peanut butter. You may need more B vitamins, so look for less fatty options of B vitamin rich foods like fish for instance. You can indulge your pb & j cravings without all out peanut butter bingeing however.

3. Cheese, ice cream, milk or other dairy products. You might consider some leafy calcium choices over too many heavy fat laden dairy products. Add more broccoli or consider the healthy alternative to ice cream, yogurt fruit smoothies.

4. Sweets. Instead of indulging in junk food sweets, go for nature's candy, fruit. By satiating your sweet tooth with a slice of melon or a handful of grapes, you'll also get some nutrients and vitamins not just empty calories.

5. Eggs. Lots of women crave eggs and this may be from an increased need for protein while pregnant. Go ahead and eat those eggs to meet the baby's demand for protein. If you crave greasy hamburgers however try to go with some other red meat options such as lean beef.

Odd Cravings from the Silly to the Unsafe

Even celebrities struggle with strange cravings. Here are some notable examples:

  • Jessica Simpson preferred salt poured on melon.
  • Halle Berry drank pepperoncini juice.
  • Hilary Duff loved red hots, even though she had never like the candy pre-pregnancy.
  • Angelina Jolie craved onion rings with mustard as well as cinnamon and chili-flavored chocolate.
  • Jennifer Lopez opted for salsa, M&Ms and orange soda.

However some cravings cross the line from odd to dangerous. Some women develop a condition known as pica. This comes from the Latin word for the bird magpie. These birds will eat pretty much anything. Pica is believed to arise from real nutritional deficits . If you crave non-food items, be sure and talk to your physician . You may need a vitamin or supplement.

Some items women may crave if they have pica:

  • Ice
  • Laundry starch
  • Gravel
  • Dirt
  • Charcoal
  • Toothpaste
  • Matches
  • Coffee grounds
  • Ashes
  • Plaster
  • Paint Chips.

As you can imagine, indulging such items could be hazardous to both mother and baby's health. If you struggle with such bizarre cravings, don't be embarrassed. It happens and your doctor has undoubtedly heard it before.

If your cravings are not dangerous such as pica items, and you don't load your diet up with the item, go head and indulge from time to time or try to substitute a similar but healthier alternative. (Foods To Avoid) Just enjoy the moment because the window of time you can send your man to the store in the middle of the night for ketchup and potatoes chips will all too soon be over.

Related Articles

Cravings and Food Aversions During Pregnancy

Food Cravings in Pregnancy: Imagined or Real?

Calcium Needs in Pregnancy

Is Caffeine Safe During Pregnancy?

Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy


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