Craving Food During Pregnancy: What’s Normal

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Craving Food During Pregnancy

You’re pregnant! Congratulations!

This is an amazing time in your life. You’re probably wondering about all the changes your body is going through and what you can expect in the coming months.

One common question women have during pregnancy is about cravings.

What are some commonly craved foods? And should you be worried if you’re constantly thinking about food?

In this blog post, we’ll answer all your questions about cravings during pregnancy and give you some tips on how to handle them.

Why do women have pregnancy cravings?

During pregnancy, your body is going through two main changes in relationship to food. These changes can cause you to have cravings for certain foods.

The first big change is hormones.

Pregnancy cravings are caused by hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. These changes can make you crave certain foods or make you feel nauseous when you eat certain foods.

The other change is “eating for two”.

When you’re pregnant, you’re not just eating for yourself. You’re also eating for your baby. This can cause you to crave foods that are high in calories and nutrients.

What are the most common pregnancy cravings?

There are a few pregnancy cravings that are more common than others. These include:

  • Craving sweets: You may find yourself wanting cookies, cake, ice cream, or other sweet treats.
  • Craving salty foods: You may start to crave chips, pretzels, or other salty snacks.
  • Craving fruits and vegetables: Some women start to crave fruits and vegetables during pregnancy. This is especially common in the first trimester.
  • Craving protein: You may start to crave meat, eggs, or cheese.
  • Craving fatty foods: You may find yourself wanting fried foods or other high-fat foods.

What should you do if you have cravings?

If you’re having pregnancy cravings, there are a few things you can do to make them more manageable:

  • Eat small meals throughout the day: This will help keep your hunger under control and prevent you from overeating.
  • Find healthier alternatives: If you’re craving sweets, try fruit instead. If you’re craving salty food, try air-popped popcorn or roasted nuts.
  • Get moving: Exercise can help reduce stress and curb cravings.
  • Drink plenty of water or fruit juice: Drinking water can help you feel full and may reduce your cravings.
  • Talk to your doctor: If you’re having trouble managing your cravings, talk to your doctor. They can help you develop a plan to manage your cravings and ensure that you’re getting the nutrients you need.
  • Take a supplement for pregnant women. Many pregnant women are vitamin deficient in iron, folate and other vital nutrients.

Craving food during pregnancy is normal.

But if you’re having trouble controlling your cravings, talk to your doctor. They can help you develop a plan to manage your cravings and ensure that you’re getting the nutrients you need.

Here is more info from John’s Hopskins:

Maintaining a healthy relationship with food during pregnancy

Even if you consciously know you’re not doing anything “bad” by eating more food than usual and gaining weight, as a woman with access to the internet and social media, you’ve most likely been conditioned to feel bad about weight gain.

One part of you might feel proud of your pregnancy and how you’re supporting a growing life. But another part of you might feel disgusted, and want to diet.

Of course if you diet, then you might not get the nutrients you need. And if you give into hunger and binge eat all day long, then you might not get the nutrients you need either!

So how do you maintain a healthy relationship with food during pregnancy? Here are some tips:

  • Eating should be a pleasant experience. Make sure to sit down, relax, and savor your food.
  • Focus on nourishing your body, rather than “dieting”.
  • Choose foods that you enjoy and that make you feel good.
  • Listen to your hunger cues. Eat when you’re hungry, and stop when you’re full.
  • Give yourself permission to eat what you want. Pregnancy is not the time for restrictive eating!

Pregnancy is a time of change, both physically and emotionally. And it’s normal to have mixed feelings about food during this time.

In Buddhism, you frequently hear the term “cravings and aversions”. While pregnant you may really crave certain foods, but also have food aversions too.

It can all be really confusing.

I highly suggest you download the Eating Enlightenment Journal for IOS and Android. By mindfully writing about food you’ll feel more balanced and wise.

By following these tips, you can better maintain a healthy relationship with food during pregnancy.

If you notice your relationship with food slipping, and you notice odd eating behaviors like craving for ice, then you should ask for help.

Journaling

If you’re struggling with binge eating or other problems related to food cravings (emotional eating, cigarettes, compulsive exercise), please consider keeping a journal.

You can share your journal with a Food Cravings Coach who can help you make sense of the various emotions related to craving.

By journaling and working with a Food Cravings Coach, you can better understand the various factors behind out of control cravings, and ultimately eat more peacefully and feel much more satisfied about your body and overall health!

What about food during pregnancy?

You might be wondering about ice cream and other sweets. Can you eat as much ice cream as you’d like while pregnant? What foods are considered unhealthy foods?

Or maybe you’re wondering about a strange craving for pickles, chocolate or other foods you normally don’t crave.

Or you might be worried about the mercury content in fish, and other foods you should avoid while pregnant.

Common food concerns women have while pregnant

You can eat ice cream while pregnant, but remember moderation. Too much sugar can lead to weight gain and other health problems.

Craving pickles or other strange foods: Pregnancy cravings are normal, and there’s no need to worry about them unless they’re interfering with your ability to eat a balanced diet.

Mercury in fish: You should avoid fish that are high in mercury, such as swordfish and shark. But you can still eat other types of fish, such as salmon and trout.

Pregnant women have many concerns when it comes to food. But by following these tips, you can better manage your cravings and ensure that you’re getting the nutrients you need.

Let’s wrap this article up with a few other commonly asked questions!

Can I prevent food cravings during pregnancy?

No, you cannot prevent food cravings during pregnancy. You risk severe nutritional deficiency if you somehow stop craving foods.  But you can manage them, as we talked about above.

When do pregnancy cravings start?

Food cravings can start at any time during pregnancy. Generally speaking there are fewer changes to the woman’s body in the earlier months of pregnancy when the baby is just a few cells.

As the baby grows, the amount of calories needed to feed the baby go up as well. Additionally, the formation of complex structures like the brain, heart and spine take up more energy from the woman’s body.

So as these form more fully in later pregnancy, the baby requires more energy, so that woman will typically crave more in later pregnancy.

However, pregnancy and food cravings really are all over the map. It’s more of an individual experience that I, the male author of the post, really have no clue about!

I’ve tried to do my research, talk to women, and take time to deeply think about things before writing this article – but ultimately I’ve never been pregnant and don’t think I ever will – so take everything I say with a grain of salt!

What happens if you ignore pregnancy cravings?

Please don’t ignore pregnancy cravings. If you’re having a strong craving for a particular food, it’s probably your body’s way of telling you that you need something.

Pregnancy cravings are normal, and there’s no need to worry about them unless they’re interfering with your ability to eat a balanced diet.

Craving Food Pregnancy – Conclusion

Craving food during pregnancy is a normal phenomenon.

However, if cravings are interfering with your ability to eat a balanced diet, then you should consult your doctor for advice.

Craving specific foods during pregnancy can be a sign that your body needs those nutrients, so it’s important to listen to your body and not ignore cravings.

By following the tips in this article, you can better manage cravings and ensure that you’re getting the nutrients you need during this special time.

Read our food meaning chart to learn what other cravings mean.

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About the Author

Hi, I'm Jared and welcome to Eating Enlightenment. I'm a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor with a Master's Degree in Counseling from Santa Clara Clara University. In my coaching I help people with BOTH nutrition and psychology.

1st - 3 Universal Meal Plan Principles which work for 99% of people because nearly every dietary approach shares these principles
2nd - Learn Internal Family Systems which is the best method to make sense of your mind and emotions, heal trauma, and find peace of mind.

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