Craving certain foods when pregnant is very common for moms to be.
Pregnancy cravings can range from refreshing foods like ice cream, watermelon and citrus fruits, to weirder and more wonderful desires such as vinegar, tuna or even the smell of gasoline.
Some experts believe it is possible to pinpoint the exact reasons for most cravings due to your changing nutritional needs, while others believe it’s not so easy to explain exactly why your body might be craving certain foods (or even smells).
But what is without doubt is that experiencing cravings during your pregnancy is a totally normal part of expecting, and there do seem to be some very logical explanations for a lot of common cravings.
So let’s take a look at some of the most popular pregnancy cravings and examine what exactly they might mean, and what (if anything) your body is trying to tell you.
What Causes Pregnancy Cravings?
There is no one single thing that causes pregnancy cravings, but some of the most common causes are:
- Increased sense of smell and taste
- Nutritional deficiencies or other needs
- Need for refreshment and hydration
When Do Pregnancy Cravings Occur?
Generally most mothers-to-be experience cravings fairly early in their pregnancy, typically during the first trimester.
For many women cravings often peak during the second trimester, although it should be noted that they can occur at any point during your pregnancy.
Below we’ve listed some of the most popular cravings, what they mean and what your body is trying to tell you.
Craving Apples During Pregnancy
As the saying goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and if you’re craving apples while pregnant there’s a good reason.
Green apples are an excellent source of vitamins, potassium and pectin, all of which are helpful to your body while it grows a tiny human.
Satisfying your apple craving will also provide an instant energy boost and help improve your immunity, which may be temporarily reduced while pregnant.
As a tip, you may want to avoid eating apples in the evening or before bed, because they may cause discomfort or indigestion.
Craving Gasoline During Pregnancy
If you’re craving the smell of gasoline during your pregnancy, there’s a chance you may have an iron deficiency.
While most cravings are safe to give in to, you should definitely avoid exposing yourself to unnecessary levels of gasoline.
It’s generally fine for pregnant women to fill up their cars at the gas station, but do not intentionally inhale gasoline fumes as this can endanger both you and your baby.
Craving Eggs During Pregnancy
Eggs are a great source of protein and good (monounsaturated) fat, so they are one of the better cravings to have.
If you are yearning for eggs, it’s probably to do with your body wanting these nutrients for you and your baby.
As a word of caution, any time you eat eggs during your pregnancy, you should ensure both the yolk and egg white is thoroughly cooked to reduce the risk of food poisoning.
Craving Cucumber During Pregnancy
Cucumbers are another healthy craving, and one that you should happily give in to.
As cucumbers contain a lot of water and can be refreshing, the craving may be because your body is telling you it needs additional hydration.
Cucumbers are a good source of both potassium and vitamins B and C, so you may also be in needs of some of these nutrients.
Interestingly, B vitamins can help improve your mood, so if you are feeling a little low then this craving may be a healthy and natural way to elevate your mood.
Craving Chalk During Pregnancy
If you are craving chalk while pregnant, you might be surprised to hear it’s more common than you think.
A craving for non-food items like chalk is associated with something called “pica”.
There is research to suggest that carving chalk is linked to nutrient deficiencies such as low levels of calcium, iron and zinc.
It’s not a cause for alarm, but if you are regularly craving non-food items, it’s probably best to speak to your doctor or midwife so they can investigate further.
Craving Peanut Butter During Pregnancy
It’s hard to pinpoint the exact reason why your body may be craving peanut butter during pregnancy.
But given peanut butter is a tasty comfort food for many of us, it could be your body wanting something that provides familiarity and comfort in response to hormonal changes or perhaps the general discomfort of pregnancy.
Nuts are also a good source of protein and are rich and filling, so your body may be asking for peanut butter due to its calorie dense and hunger satisfying properties.
A great tip is to eat peanut butter with another popular craving – by spreading it on an apple – especially as this will help you avoid eating too much peanut butter in one go.
Craving Cranberry Juice During Pregnancy
Cranberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, which as many people know helps boost immunity.
As a lot of moms-to-be are well aware, during pregnancy your immune system is compromised, which is why it’s important to avoid certain foods like beef jerky as they may contain harmful bacteria.
Drinking cranberry juice will help you stay hydrated, and it can even reduce the risk of developing kidney stones during pregnancy and prevents urinary tract infections.
Craving Bread During Pregnancy
While pregnancy can be a very exciting time, there is no doubt it’s tiring for both your mind and body (particularly if you’re also looking after your other children and / or are working as normal at your job).
Eating bread, which is a good source of carbohydrates, can provide you with much needed energy to help you function throughout the day.
While some people might be tempting to ignore craving bread if it’s something they don’t usually eat, it might be wiser to acknowledge this craving if you’re feeling unusually tired.
Refined breads are high in sugar and can contain a lot of preservatives and additives, so whole-grain bread is probably a better option.
It might also be a good idea to seek out other (complex) carbohydrates such as beans and other whole grains like rice if you want to give your body some high quality carbohydrates.
Craving Tuna During Pregnancy
Although it’s a popular (and healthy) craving, many moms to be ask themselves why am I craving tuna while pregnant.
Tuna is high in protein, low in fat and an excellent brain food, so provided you stick to current recommendations of 2 servings per week you should be fine to consume tuna.
Eating more than this on a regular basis is not recommended due to the high levels of mercury that tuna contains.
Craving Watermelon During Pregnancy
Did you know that a watermelon contains around 92% water?
So if you crave watermelon while pregnant there’s a high chance your body is asking for more hydration and / or refreshment.
In addition, watermelon can reduce swelling during pregnancy and the natural sugars can help with morning sickness, so these may also be the reasons for your watermelon craving.
Craving Vinegar During Pregnancy
Unfortunately there is no research or evidence as to why pregnant women crave vinegar, even though it’s a very popular craving.
The good news is that consuming vinegar is harmless and it provides nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and phosphorus.
Some moms-to-be also say that apple cider vinegar can help alleviate morning sickness and heartburn.
Craving Coffee During Pregnancy
Coffee provides a quick and welcome energy boost for millions of Americans every single day.
So if you’re used to regularly drinking coffee, it’s no surprise that you are craving it during your pregnancy, especially during periods when you’re tired (or at least more tired than usual)!
Your coffee craving might also be linked to basic psychology.
Because if you’ve been told to limit coffee while pregnant, it’s only natural to crave it, and the fact that coffee is on the list of “consume in moderation” only adds to its appeal.
Craving Lime Or Lemon During Pregnancy
Wondering why you’re craving lemons?
Fruit is one of the most craved foods during pregnancy, with limes and lemons being particularly popular with pregnant women.
Scientists have found it hard to identify exactly why pregnant women crave citrus fruits, but the most plausible hypothesis is that this craving is based around the fact that citrus fruits are easy to digest and refreshing.
In addition, limes and lemons can help boost your immune system, which will be naturally weakened during pregnancy, so this also explains why you may have a citrus craving during pregnancy.
Craving Chocolate, Candy & Ice Cream During Pregnancy
Sweet foods like chocolate, hot chocolate, candy and ice cream often appear as the number one craving in pregnancy craving research.
There are often two main reasons for these cravings:
- They provide a sugar boost, which will give you a temporary increase in energy.
- For many people they are comforting foods that provide more value than purely nutrition, because they have nostalgic or sentimental value or provide other positive feelings.
Although chocolate contains B vitamins and dark chocolate has antioxidants, it’s more likely that your craving may be due to its mood boosting capabilities and ability to reduces stress.
Ice cream is another “classic” craving which you may be craving thanks to its comforting attributes.
Craving ice cream could also be your body’s way of telling you it wants to cool down, especially if the weather is very warm.
If you are craving sweet foods the good news is according to nutritionists, if you have a balanced diet there should be no issues with giving in to these sweet cravings during your pregnancy, provided you don’t over do it.
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