Food Cravings During Pregnancy – Causes And What Can You Do About It

5 min read

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

Food cravings during pregnancy - Causes & what can you do about it

Getting a strong urge to eat a particular dish is a common pregnancy symptom. Food cravings during pregnancy is very famous. Many pregnancies get discovered thanks to the change in smell and taste receptors. When the smells from the kitchen begin to either seem alluring or unbearable, the most common suspect is pregnancy.

Just like Pregnancy Food Cravings, and even aversions are both quite common. While some women may crave a particular flavor or dish, many also are suddenly turned off by certain flavors or smells, at times even those they used to like.

In This Article

What Are Food Cravings During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy is one of the most intense transformations that one’s body goes through. While a lot of internal parts begin changing, one notices the changes through the olfactory system or the sense of smell – when one suddenly either starts enjoying some smells or starts getting completely turned off by some.

Somewhere in the first trimester, often between 8 to 12 weeks, pregnant women could begin craving certain food flavors and getting put off by some. Food cravings in pregnancy are intense want of a certain particular flavor or dish, more specific than hunger and not easy to resist. For the same woman, cravings could even vary from baby to baby. Often there is a craving for a dish that the mom-to-be could not even stand before getting pregnant.

However, these cravings are not as harmless as they sound or as the movies make them look. More recent research points toward the relationship between excessive Gestational Weight Gain and cravings. Safe to say, one should give in to cravings a bit mindfully and maybe follow the rule of a healthy diet that is “moderation”.

What Causes Food Cravings During Pregnancy?

During Pregnancy, all five senses are heightened. This is due to hormonal changes, especially estrogen. Loved foods start tasting off and unpleasant, every smell is more pronounced, and so on.

Women often even get a metallic taste in the mouth, a changing sense of taste known as dysgeusia. Citrus fruits or pickles can often counter this taste – probably why some women crave lemons and pickles.

Despite a lot of research, it is only speculated that cravings during pregnancy happen either to fulfill a nutritional need of the mom-to-be or of the fetus, or it could be to protect the fetus. According to experts, sometimes, chocolate cravings indicate magnesium deficiency and the craving for cheese is due to calcium deficiency. While most of this is speculation, what is certain is that a majority of women face a stark change in their taste and intense cravings.

When Does Food Craving During Pregnancy Start?

No two pregnancies are the same. Just like that, if and when the Pregnancy Cravings start is also different for every woman. For some it could start as early as 8 weeks, for most it starts around 12 weeks, however, there are some pregnant women who don’t have any cravings at all.

Interestingly, in the first trimester, before the cravings begin, most mom-to-be would have food and smell aversions. This could be the body’s way of protecting the fetus even before the pregnant woman discovers pregnancy.

Since the smell and taste sensors are heightened during pregnancy, you could begin finding a difference in how your kitchen or surroundings smell to you as early as in the 8th week itself.

When Do Food Cravings During Pregnancy End?

When do pregnancy cravings end_

Pregnancy cravings often start to reduce in the third trimester and disappear by the time the baby is born. The pregnant woman’s appetite and sense of smell or taste slowly begin returning to the way they were before getting pregnant.

Cravings often begin towards the end of the first trimester, and the number of cravings and frequency increases in the second trimester and begins to decline in the third.

Common Pregnancy Cravings You May Experience

A food craving is nothing but an intense urge for a certain flavor of a dish.
A study in 1978 examined the types of cravings and discovered that the most common cravings included sweets, fruits, dairy, vegetables, and often even fast food.

Typically, the craving for savory foods rises or peaks in the third trimester.

It’s important to note that ice is also one of the common food cravings. However, craving ice often hints towards anemia in the body. Thus bring it to the attention of your doctor. 

According to research, here are the top 10 common cravings:

  • Sweets, often chocolates
  • High-calorie carbohydrates like pizza or chips
  • Animal protein like chicken
  • Fruits
  • Dairies like cheese or sour cream
  • Carbohydrates like cereals, pretzels
  • Commonly ordered fast food that the mom-to-be is used to
  • Vegetables
  • Sweets like ice cream and milkshakes
  • Cold foods like ice pops

What Can You Do About Pregnancy Craving ?

What causes food cravings during pregnancy_

You may often think that the craving is your body’s signal that it needs the nutrient in that particular food. However, the fact you crave a certain dish does not mean that you should have it or that your body needs it. There is no scientific explanation for why a pregnant woman’s body might crave a pizza, nor any benefits of having a pizza.

However, as long as you are following your doctor’s advice, a healthy diet, and maintaining your Gestation Weight, you shouldn’t panic after satiating a food craving every now and then. But try to avoid using the cravings to overeat or to eat unhealthily.

There might be times when you really need to manage the cravings and not give in to them. We offer a few tips:

  • Drink some water Often we mistake thirst for hunger. Your body’s requirement for hydration increases significantly during pregnancy.
  • Follow Meal Planning Plan your meals and the in-between snacks well in advance. If satiated, you might not be interested in the unhealthy random cravings.
  • Distract yourself Try to stop thinking about the food craving. Read a book, watch something on the television, or even chat with a friend.
  • Follow mindful eating  While eating, take the time to savor your food. Avoid eating while working or watching the TV.
  • Keep your stress, low  Stress and mood fluctuations can lead to some mindless eating as a way to soothe the nerves. Try to manage stress by working out often and meditating.
  • Give in and make it a small serving At times when all of the above are in order, it’s ok to give in as well and indulge in the craving (except alcohol and over-the-counter drugs). And for the cravings that don’t have any nutrients in them, have the smallest size.
    Swap the cravings for a healthier version of it, such as swapping ice cream for frozen yogurt, or lemonade instead of sweet sodas,

Food cravings during pregnancy are just our body’s way of both protecting us and providing us some relief. These could begin anytime between the 8th week and the 12th week, or you could be a lucky one to completely escape this control over your body by your taste. In moderation, however, we suggest you enjoy your cravings and give into the once-in-a-lifetime intense urges of chaat, pickles, or even pizza.


What Does Pregnancy Craving Feel Like?

Pregnancy cravings feel like an intense want or an urge to eat a particular dish or food. It often begins closer to the 12th week of pregnancy and often subsides in the third semester.

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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