Do Pregnancy Cravings Mean Anything?

Most women will experience at least one pregnancy craving, although some may experience more. A food craving is a sudden desire to eat a certain food. During pregnancy, these could be unusual food combinations (such as salty crisps dipped in chocolate, or pickle and ice cream), or more normal foods.

Pregnancy cravings can happen at any point, but are most common during the first trimester. Many women find that they experience food aversions alongside morning sickness. Some women don’t experience any pregnancy cravings, and that’s normal too.

What causes pregnancy cravings?

The cause of pregnancy cravings remain a mystery, but experts have made some educated guesses. Some believe that the hormonal changes during pregnancy can impact upon taste and smell. This could explain the food aversions and cravings associated with pregnancy.

What do pregnancy cravings mean?

Some experts believe that pregnancy cravings can be attributed to the nutritional needs of the body during specific times of the pregnancy. Some food cravings can be a warning sign of an underlying problems. For example, craving non-food substances such as petrol (gasoline), paint chips and soil, could be a symptom of iron deficiency. Currently, not enough research has been done in this area to determine the causes of pregnancy cravings.

Are pregnancy cravings important?

If you’re a dad-to-be reading this in the supermarket on a 3am emergency trip to get mint chocolate soy ice cream, yes. But in reality, it is not known whether pregnancy cravings are important. Experts advise you to listen to your healthy cravings – if you crave a huge bowl of fruit salad every day, go for it. If your cravings are less than wholesome, however, they advise creating alternatives for the foods you want. It would be difficult to justify eating a whole tub of high-fat neapolitan ice cream every evening, but perhaps you could switch it for a homemade milkshake made with fresh strawberries?

Popular pregnancy cravings 

There are a number of foods that seem to be a hit with most pregnant women, for example:

  • ice cubes/ice lollies – a lot of women report craving ice lollies, icy cold drinks or crunching on ice cubes during pregnancy. This could be related to the raised body temperature of pregnant women, or the necessary increased water intake.
  • sweet foods – chocolate, ice cream, biscuits and cake are popular cravings amongst pregnant women. This craving for sweet food could be met by eating a variety of sweet fruits. Try adding more fruit to your diet to see if that reduces your craving for high-fat sugary foods. Craving sugary foods could also be caused by a drop in blood sugar, you can avoid this by eating small, frequent meals throughout the day.
  • salty foods – some women report craving salty foods such as crisps, chips and other savoury snacks. It’s ok to give into your cravings every so often, however you should be wary of the amount of sodium in your diet. You can use smartphone apps to record your food intake, and these will calculate your daily salt intake.
  • spicy foods – mexican and indian cuisines are both popular food cravings amongst pregnant women. Some women find that their tolerance to spicy food increases during pregnancy, so where they may previously have ordered kormas, they find themselves eating vindaloos. The amniotic fluid in your uterus changes flavour depending on what you’ve eaten, so your baby will be enjoying new tastes as you tuck into your madras.
  • citrus fruits – some women report craving the sour tastes of citrus fruits during pregnancy. From drinking lemon water, to eating whole limes, some women can’t get enough of sour flavours.

If you are craving non-food items such as mud, plaster or bath sponge, contact your healthcare provider. This can be a symptom of an underlying condition.

Are you experiencing any weird cravings during pregnancy?

Written by Fiona, proud owner of a toddler, @fiona_peacock

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2018. All rights reserved.

Fiona PeacockDo Pregnancy Cravings Mean Anything?

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Cecilia..
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Cecilia..

I crave beer n pickle juice mixed in together.. I did with my previous pregnancy too..

Fallon Louise
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Fallon Louise

The only thing I craved in my first 3 months was tinned tomatoes which I was really pleased as there good for your skin and not fattening, not craved anything else and I’m 6 months now…

Tatianna
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Tatianna

Im a week away from my second trimester and I only crave sugary things one silly one was Cranberry Sauce… With every meal. My son was all spicy things, which normally Im not a fan of..

Laura
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Laura

Fruit pastel lollies and caprisun drinks 🙂

Donna
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Donna

Id wake up with a drooling mouth for pickle juice and ice chips. Thank god my fridge n freezer are loaded down right now!!! Down the midnight stair trip I go ;)..

Elizabeth
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Elizabeth

It’s life and death battle if I don’t have my coconut!!! (I really hate coconut but cant get enough of it now lol). Hubby has made many trips to the store to keep me in stock 🙂

Elizabeth
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Elizabeth

I crave anything that has lime in it! I eat mangoes, cucumbers, carrots.. Anything with lime and salt! i also love pickles!

Autumn Miller-Wolfe
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Autumn Miller-Wolfe

I have noticed that green bell peppers (which I love) now taste bitter every time I try to eat them. 🙁

Biscuitfeatures
Guest

First trimester was all aversions – I are whatever didn’t make me want to hurl. Second trimester was big on fresh fruit and veg; transitioning from second to third, a lot of sweet stuff. Currently this bub seems to be demanding a lot of full-fat dairy, which makes sense as she’s fattening up and building her bone strength 🙂 I think healthy cravings are a sign of the nutritional needs at different stages; everything else is probably just taste buds gone haywire :p

nika
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nika

I wanted potatos every thing chips, fries, mashed, and baked with my first two I had to have it but with my 3rd I had to have peanut butter on every thing I ate with my forth I wanted pies just oatmeal zebra cakes and all but now im on #5 and I want McDonald fries and burgers

tsholo
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tsholo

I’m craving toilet paper(tissue) and I’m 7months is it ok?

Nancy
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Nancy

I love spicy foods but now it’s like I can’t get enough. I also crave cake & pickles together. I’m 28 weeks 4 days pregnant

Laura
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Laura

Lemon!! Lemonade, lemon drops, lemon tarts… Can’t get enough! Since 1st trimester and I’m 29 weeks now!!

Shermaine
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Shermaine

I crave water melon straight through my pregnancy and I’m 7 months now.

Jamael
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Jamael

My wife she craves for grapefruit juice everyday she wants grapefruit juice and this is my first child I think this is amazing

Jessica
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Jessica

Guacamole and watermelon!

Laura
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Laura

I have been craving citrus fruits and juices, mostly orange juice. I was told this is good because the vitamin c helps your body absorb iron.

Rachael
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Rachael

Sunny D and Victoria Sponge Cake mmmmmm

Alicia G.
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Alicia G.

I don’t have too many cravings but I do love: tootsie rolls and require them now… Chocolate and I absolutely hate burgers, the smell makes me feel sick and queasy. I also wanted to eat a bit healthy and I started to eat leafy green salads when we go out to dinner but I cannot keep it down… It causes me to have an upset stomach and hurl. I am only 12 weeks and a mother of two… This would be my third one… And I have scary thoughts about this one… And I am super nervous. I have never… Read more »

Tannis
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Tannis

Milk!!! I’m 23 weeks and I can’t get enough of a cold glass of milk. In my first trimester it was lemonade which I normally never ever drank

Sara
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Sara

Potatoes, potatoes and more potatoes lol I love them so much and sweet stuff more often than not but always potatoes!!

Dominique
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Dominique

Month 1: pasta pasta pasta. Anytime anyone saw me I always had a container of pasta I was munching on. Week by week after. . Some lasted two. Tomatoes, red peppers roasted on the BBQ, soda crackers with butter, cantelope, pineapples, double smoked Ukraine sausage with cheese and sweet yum yum pickles, 7 later dip and chips, chunky soup, Scooby-Doo snacks, potatoes and gravy, steaks, scrambled eggs… 21 weeks today and none of these were together in the same week. Some I can’t even look at anymore! It’s been nice I haven’t been stuck either one craving. But they change… Read more »

Aimee
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Aimee

First trimester it was mayonnaise and also southern fried chicken. Now im 24 weeks and I love salty things, but atm I really want an ice lolly!

Cant stand mince meat, had to substitute for quorn mince

Jess
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Jess

Im 17 weeks pregnant and I crave Gummy Worms and fruit popsicles 24/7 !

Skye
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Skye

I am 23 weeks, from week 4 to week 12 I craved sour stuff, warheads everything, sour worms then it was steak for about 2 weeks and now I am back to sour stuff! I love lemon and I never used to!!

Sophie Stewart
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Sophie Stewart

Tinned pineapple and soda water (not together).
My husband (and dr) couldn’t be happier for this affordable and healthy craving!

Alyssa
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Alyssa

I am currently 23 weeks, with a little baby girl 🙂 I didn’t get any cravings in the beginning of my pregnancy, but now I crave chinese, rice, fresh fruit, & bread sticks with melted cheese. But all at different times. They come and go. All normal foods thank goodness!

Katrina
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Katrina

Lemons lemons lemons, sliced lemon in hot water first thing, and in salads and fruit salad hot water in the evening with a dash of lemon again can’t get enough 23 weeks in and still going strong obviously need the vitamin c

Katrena
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Katrena

I’m 9 weeks now and in the beginning I craved fruits, lots of fruit. Oh and OMG I haven’t drank tho much milk since I was a kid! I’ve been craving milk the whom time. Although I’ve been adding chocolate to it now. I’m also craving sour candy and i like the lemon ones and i use to not. And the vinager chips. I could live on sandwiches now too with tons of mustard (preferably spicy). Oh and scrambled eggs I normally like is now disgusting to me. Its so strange. I don’t know what it all means but I… Read more »

Christina
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Christina

Pink lemonade, rare steak, pineapple, pickles with melted cheese, and any kind of chocolate cake

Jess
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Jess

I go bananas for bananas! – and my baby does too always bouncing inside when I make a smoothie or anything with banana. I think this baby is going to be a very cheeky little monkey

charlie
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charlie

I’m 11 weeks and 2 days my cravings are lemons it’s that bad my friend bought a bag of lemons and squeezed them all so I have a big glass bottle of freshly squeezed lemons I drink it in hot water one after an other can’t get enough of them.. and beef stew mmmm pearl barley beef potatoes mixed veg thick gravy and marmite omg!!! I have a bowl with whole grain bread breakfast lunch and dinner I love it love it love it !! I have a three your old and with my little girl craved milk and chicken… Read more »

aqsa amjad
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aqsa amjad

Its my 23rd week… hving 2nd baby boy… 1st is 2years old… i crave sand or mud… i cant stop myself 2 take that… i know this is nt good… can anyone of u plz tell me what should i do?

Melissa
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Melissa

Sour foods with lime and spicy foods lately. Strong food aversions! I used to love chocolate but now just the smell makes me want to throw up 🙁

Sophie
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Sophie

cheese and pickle sarnys and Orange juice

nadia
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nadia

Hmmm in my third trimester now… last night wanted milkshake very badly even now thinking about it soooo want one! Juices and fruits and cheese too…

First trimester was weird…wanted to eat strawberries but more so wanted to swim in it! Lolzzzzz just imagining crushed strawberry in a pool and swim in it lolzzzz I think I still want it now haha

Mel
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Mel

first trimester I craved anything sour- pickles, sauerkraut, olives and lemons chopped into wedges sprinkled with heaps of salt. I could eat a whole lemon like that in one sitting. My husband thought I was mad! Also loved and still love fresh avocado with lemon salt and pepper and eaten with a spoon. Right now (week 16) it’s still all about sour foods but not as bad as before. I’m having a boy.

Mary
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Mary

I am 36 weeks. My first trimester I couldn’t get enough of pickles and oranges/orange juice and I could not stand bell peppers! Second trimester and the beginning of my third trimester I had to have a bowl of life cereal everyday! Now I want to have something sweet ALL the time (ice cream, cookies, smoothies etc..)

hydz
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hydz

Im 14 weeks and I love avocado with lemon. I find it odd but as im eatting Chicken taste ok once finished I dont want To touch it nor eat ever again..? Can someone tell me whats up with that. ? I LOVE MORE THAN EVER before the chocolate MarsBars..? I crave an Farmers.Union ice coffee but once ive finished it; it taste so good bout 3 minutes later without fail it I vomit it right back up not fun. Most foods look good but smell awful to me now. This is my Second pregnancy completely different to my first… Read more »

LaToya
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LaToya

I’m 8 weeks and during my pregnancy I have become a huge Taco Bell with hot sauce, buffalo wing, flaming hot products, and separately, a huge applesauce eater. Additionally, all of my beverages have to be extremely cold.

Alexis
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Alexis

I craved random things throughout this pregnancy ( my second). From pb&j sandwiches to Philly cheese steaks with tons on cheese & mayo but minus the bread & I’d eat it with cool ranch Doritos. In the beginning I couldn’t get enough of olives & pickles. I’d save the juices & drizzle it on a salad. My husband thought I was losing my mind lol

Natalie
Guest
Natalie

I’m 23 weeks pregnant and in my first trimester I craved watermelons every single day!! During my morning sickness they kept me alive! Now I crave fruit especially peaches yum!!

Sandra
Guest
Sandra

I only had cravings before I knew I was pregnant and that was hot dogs but more for the onions on it and chicken and mushroom slices. I’m now 23weeks and got none.

Laura
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Laura

Extra cheesy wotsits and apples in the first trimester, now it’s hot curry and Thorntons toffee!

Tina
Guest
Tina

Im in thw second trimester with our third child… Sauerkraut, onions, and pickles (and juice from the pickles) and this is probably the weirdest cravings so far.
My first was salads, watermelon and the hottest chicken wings possible. With our second watermelon, salads, & red meat!! Found out I was anemic at her birth. During the latter part of my pregnancies, I always want something sweet…. chocolate ice cream and almonds.

Danielle
Guest
Danielle

I’m 23 weeks along today! The first food aversion was feta cheese. The smell made me sick to my stomach. I craved fruits and veggies at first, but my cravings range from sour and vinegary to sweet and of course back to salty. Buffalo sauce and A-1 steak sauce is my new friend and pickled beets and pickles are amazing! I’ve avoided ketchup and mustard which is odd for me. But I have switched to ranch dressing, which is extremely odd for me! I also can’t get enough milk and it used to be a huge aversion. I’m all over… Read more »

Itzandra
Guest
Itzandra

This is my second pregnancy and I am 23 weeks along. The only thing I could eat during my first trimester was sausage biscuits. That’s it. Everything else made my stomach turned. Now I can eat most things except chicken, hot dogs, and anything with red sauce.

Christina
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Christina

First trimester I craved for spicy food. I would beg my husband get me spicy lamb chops from my favourite Indian restaurant…. Second trimester , I hate it anything spicy from spicy noodles to spicy curry whatsoever . I crave for more fruits and veges now . Hate eggs which is odd. Love tomatoes (used to hate it) !!!! lol we are having a girl

Now I feel like a bowl of fruits

Angela
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Angela

I only wanted mashed potatoes and then jelly after in my first trimester. And I couldn’t stand the smell of Pizza (still gets me sometimes)

Jenika
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Jenika

First trimester I craved fresh tomatoes with salt, and tacos. Second trimester I always wanted cheese!! Anything cheesey with extra cheese on top!! Mid-second trimester now and I want pickles and lemons. Anytime my man and I go out to eat I have to ask for a separate dish of fresh cut lemons for my ice water. They never give me enough otherwise!! 😊🍋😍