When Do Food Cravings Start in Pregnancy?

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When Do Food Cravings Start in Pregnancy

Do you find yourself constantly dreaming about food? Are you always searching for something to eat, even when you’re not hungry? If so, you’re not alone.

It’s perfectly normal to experience food cravings during pregnancy. In fact, almost 90% of pregnant women will have cravings at some point during their pregnancy.

  • Generally speaking, the beginning of the second or third trimester is when food cravings start to increase more strongly.
  • Whereas in the first trimester there may be increased food cravings, but less strongly.

Keep reading to find out! In this blog post, we will discuss common types of cravings, when they start in pregnancy, whether they are good or not, and what causes them.

We will also provide some tips for dealing with food cravings.

What are some common pregnancy cravings?

Here is a list of 8 most common pregnancy cravings many women experience during pregnancy:

  • Ice cream
  • Chocolate
  • Pickles
  • Red meat
  • Fried foods
  • Cheese
  • Citrus fruits
  • Breads and pastas

In general, food groups that pregnant women commonly experience cravings for include: spicy foods, salty foods, and sweet foods.

Pregnant women may also find themselves having weird cravings, for certain “foods” that they normally wouldn’t eat, such as dirt or chalk.

These cravings are called pica and can be a sign of an underlying nutritional deficiency. If you experience pica, it’s important to speak to your doctor.

While food cravings are common during pregnancy, they don’t necessarily mean that you’re deficient in a certain nutrient.

For example, many pregnant women crave dark chocolate, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re deficient in magnesium (which is found in chocolate).

Additionally, many women experience food aversions. Food aversions are where you suddenly dislike certain foods you previously enjoyed, or your taste buds change somehow.

Both cravings and aversions are totally natural!

Why do most pregnant women start to experience much stronger food cravings in the 2nd and 3rd trimester?

As your baby grows, your body will go through many changes. These changes can cause you to feel hungrier than usual and can lead to food cravings.

Food cravings can begin at any point during pregnancy, but they are most common in the second and third trimesters.

Read here for more info about the timing and science of food cravings and pregnancy.

This is because the baby grows in size the most during the second and third trimesters, whereas during the first trimester the fetus is still small.

For example, at the end of 3 months the baby may weigh around 28 grams. However, by the end of the pregnancy, the baby will weigh around 3000 grams!

As the unborn baby grows, your body will need more calories and nutrients to support the pregnancy. This increased need can lead to food cravings, especially in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters.

A good amount of women experience early pregnancy cravings as well, but a good rule of thumb is that the cravings increase second trimester onwards.

What causes food cravings during pregnancy?

So what causes most pregnancy cravings?

There are a few theories about what causes pregnancy food cravings.

Some experts believe that cravings are the result of hormonal changes, while others believe they’re the body’s way of getting extra nutrients.

It’s also possible that food cravings are simply a result of being hungrier than usual. This can be due to both the growing baby’s development, as well as any calories lost in morning sickness.

Whatever the cause, food cravings are a normal part of pregnancy and nothing to be concerned about.

They are normal and in fact good!

Yes, good! Because one of the most dangerous things for a pregnant woman is malnourishment.

Why cravings are actually good

Although western culture often views cravings as bad, increased food cravings during pregnancy are actually beneficial!

They are the body’s way of ensuring that the growing baby gets the nutrients it needs.

For example, if you’re craving “unhealthy” foods like ice cream, it may be because your body needs more calcium.

And if you’re craving red meat, it may be because your body needs more iron.

So when you have a craving, try to think of it as your body’s way of telling you what it needs.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should give in to every single craving.

If you’re craving something that is unhealthy or not nutrient-rich, then it’s okay to resist the craving.

But if you’re craving something, please remember that many women around the world actually suffer from malnourishment during pregnancy.

Nutritional deficiencies during pregnancy are terrible for the baby’s health and can lead to a whole host of problems, including low birth weight, developmental delays, and even stillbirth.

So when you have a craving, try to think of it as your body’s way of telling you what it needs.

And if it makes sense to give in to the pregnancy craving, then please do!

However, if you’re having very a disruptive food aversion, or you’re craving non-food items, you may want to talk to your doctor for more information.

How can I deal with food cravings?

Of course, we’re not advocating that you go hog wild and engorge into all your cravings. At Eating Enlightenment, we always value consulting our bodies’ wisdom to make a wise decision based on a calm, clear sense of Self.

If you’re struggling to deal with your food cravings, here are a few tips that may help:

  • Eat small meals or snacks every few hours to keep your hunger under control.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and to help reduce your hunger.
  • Avoid trigger foods that you know will make your cravings worse.
  • Get regular exercise, which can help reduce stress and improve your mood.
  • Make sure you’re getting plenty of prenatal vitamins
  • Talk to someone about your cravings, whether it’s your partner, a friend, or a healthcare professional.

Summary – When Do Food Cravings Start in Pregnancy?

If you’re struggling with your food cravings, remember that you’re not alone. Many women experience them during pregnancy.

And try to think of your cravings as your body’s way of telling you what it needs. If you can give in to the craving, then please do! It’s good for you and your baby.

But if you’re struggling to deal with your food pregnancy cravings, talk to someone about it. There is no shame in seeking help when you need it.

We hope this article was helpful in giving you some insight into food cravings during pregnancy. If you have any questions or would like to share your experience with pregnancy cravings, please leave a comment below!

Thanks for reading!

For more info about cravings in general, read this chart here.

About the Author

Jared Levenson is a former binge eating wrestler turned Zen Buddhist Monk, Internal Family Systems counselor and nutrition wellness coach. He's helped hundreds of people through universal meal principles and internal family systems to make peace with food, stop binge eating, and find true health and wholeness.


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