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Pregnancy Cravings | When they start & What’s normal

Pregnancy is a remarkable journey marked by numerous physical and emotional changes. One intriguing aspect that many expectant mothers encounter is pregnancy cravings. These intense desires for specific foods or combinations can be both surprising and bewildering. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the fascinating world of pregnancy cravings, exploring when they typically start, what’s considered normal, and how to manage them for a healthy and enjoyable pregnancy.

Understanding Pregnancy Cravings

Pregnancy cravings are strong urges for particular foods or flavors that can occur during any trimester. They are a widespread phenomenon, with nearly 50-90% of pregnant women experiencing them at some point during their pregnancy. These cravings can range from sweet and indulgent to savory and unusual, leaving many women wondering why they suddenly find themselves yearning for specific foods.

When Do Pregnancy Cravings Begin?

Pregnancy cravings often make their debut in the first trimester, alongside other common pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness and fatigue. However, they can surface at any point during pregnancy and may vary in intensity and duration. Some women might start experiencing cravings as early as the first few weeks, while others may not notice them until the second or third trimester.

What Causes Pregnancy Cravings?

Pregnancy Cravings
Pregnancy Cravings

Several factors contribute to the development of pregnancy cravings. Hormonal fluctuations play a significant role, as the body undergoes a surge in hormones like estrogen and progesterone. These hormonal changes can affect taste and smell perception, making certain foods more appealing.

Nutritional needs are another factor influencing cravings. As the body works tirelessly to support the growing baby, it may signal specific nutrient deficiencies through cravings. For instance, a craving for citrus fruits might indicate a need for vitamin C, while a desire for dairy could suggest a calcium deficiency.

Emotional and psychological factors also come into play. Pregnancy is a time of heightened emotions, stress, and anxiety for many women. Cravings can serve as a coping mechanism, providing comfort and temporary relief from emotional stressors.

What Are Normal Pregnancy Cravings?

Pregnancy cravings can encompass a wide range of foods and flavors, making it challenging to define what’s “normal.” However, there are several common themes and categories of cravings that many pregnant women experience:

Sweet Cravings

Many expectant mothers find themselves craving sweets like chocolate, ice cream, or pastries. These cravings are often linked to hormonal changes that heighten the sensitivity of taste buds to sweetness.

Savory Cravings

Cravings for salty or savory foods such as chips, pickles, or pizza are also prevalent during pregnancy. These may be influenced by changes in blood volume and sodium levels.

Fruit and Citrus

Some women develop strong desires for fruits, especially citrus varieties like oranges and strawberries. These cravings may be indicative of a need for vitamin C.

Spicy Foods

Cravings for spicy foods like hot peppers or curry can occur, possibly linked to an increased metabolism during pregnancy.

Crunchy Textures

Cravings for foods with a satisfying crunch, such as popcorn or potato chips, are common. These may provide sensory relief during pregnancy.

Unusual Combinations

Pregnancy often brings about bizarre cravings for unique food combinations, like pickles and ice cream. These can be a result of both hormonal and psychological factors.

Protein-Rich Foods

Some women crave protein sources like meat, eggs, or tofu, potentially reflecting an increased need for amino acids.

Managing Pregnancy Cravings

While indulging in pregnancy cravings is entirely normal, it’s essential to strike a balance between satisfying your desires and maintaining a healthy diet. Here are some tips for managing pregnancy cravings:


Enjoy your cravings in moderation. Savoring a small portion can satisfy your desire without overindulging.

Choose Nutrient-Rich Options

Opt for healthier alternatives that align with your cravings. For example, if you’re craving sweets, reach for fruits instead of sugary snacks.

Stay Hydrated

Sometimes, thirst is mistaken for hunger or cravings. Ensure you’re adequately hydrated throughout the day.

Balanced Diet

Strive for a balanced diet that meets your nutritional needs. Consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian for personalized guidance.

Mindful Eating

Practice mindful eating by paying attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. This can help prevent overeating.

Plan Ahead

Prepare satisfying and nutritious snacks to have on hand when cravings strike, reducing the temptation to reach for unhealthy options.

Seek Support

Share your cravings with your partner, friends, or support groups. Talking about your experiences can provide emotional relief.

Is there a link between Pregnancy Craving and Baby Gender

The connection between pregnancy cravings and the gender of the baby is a popular topic of curiosity and old wives’ tales. Many people believe that the specific cravings a pregnant person experiences might be indicative of the baby’s gender. However, it’s essential to clarify that there is no scientific evidence to support a direct link between pregnancy cravings and baby gender.

Pregnancy cravings are primarily influenced by hormonal changes, nutritional needs, and individual preferences. While some women may crave certain foods more strongly when carrying a boy, others might have similar cravings when carrying a girl. Additionally, cravings can vary widely from one pregnancy to another for the same person, making it challenging to use them as a reliable indicator of gender.

It’s crucial to remember that the gender of the baby is determined by genetic factors at conception and is not influenced by what the pregnant person eats or craves during pregnancy. The only way to accurately determine the baby’s gender is through medical tests such as ultrasound or amniocentesis, usually performed during the second trimester.

While pregnancy cravings might not provide insight into the baby’s gender, they can still be an interesting and sometimes amusing part of the pregnancy experience. If you’re curious about your baby’s gender, it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider and consider medical tests for a definitive answer.

Craving non-food items during Pregnancy

Craving non-food items during pregnancy, a condition known as “pica,” can be a cause for concern and should be discussed with a healthcare provider. Pica involves the persistent and intense desire to consume substances that have no nutritional value and can be harmful to both the pregnant person and the developing fetus. These non-food items can include things like dirt, clay, chalk, soap, laundry detergent, ice, paper, and more.

Here are some key points to consider regarding pica during pregnancy:


The exact cause of pica is not well understood, but it is believed to be related to a combination of factors, including nutritional deficiencies, psychological factors, cultural practices, and sensory cravings.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Some cases of pica may be associated with specific nutrient deficiencies, such as iron or zinc. Pregnant people may develop cravings for non-food items in an attempt to satisfy these deficiencies.

Harmful Consequences

Ingesting non-food items can pose serious health risks to both the pregnant person and the baby. For example, consuming substances like lead-based paint chips can lead to lead poisoning, which can harm fetal development.

Psychological Factors

Pica can sometimes be linked to psychological factors, such as stress, anxiety, or a history of trauma. Addressing underlying mental health concerns is crucial for managing pica.

Cultural Practices

In some cultures, the consumption of specific non-food items is considered a traditional practice during pregnancy. While cultural practices are essential, it’s essential to ensure they do not pose health risks.

Medical Evaluation

If you or someone you know is experiencing pica during pregnancy, it’s crucial to seek medical evaluation and guidance. Healthcare providers can assess nutritional status, perform blood tests to identify deficiencies and offer appropriate interventions.


Treatment for pica depends on its underlying causes. It may involve nutritional supplementation, counseling or therapy to address psychological factors, and education about the potential risks associated with consuming non-food items.


Adequate prenatal care, including proper nutrition and supplementation as recommended by a healthcare provider, can help reduce the likelihood of developing pica.

In conclusion, while pregnancy cravings for non-food items can be concerning, they should not be ignored. Seeking medical attention and addressing the root causes of pica is essential to ensure the health and well-being of both the pregnant person and the baby.

What are food aversions during Pregnancy?

Food aversions during pregnancy refer to the strong dislike or repulsion toward certain foods or odors that a pregnant person may experience. While food cravings are relatively well-known, food aversions are equally common during pregnancy and can have a significant impact on a person’s dietary choices and nutritional intake.

Here are some key points to understand about food aversions during pregnancy:

1. Common Occurrence: Food aversions are a normal part of pregnancy, and they can occur at any time during gestation, though they are most common during the first trimester.

2. Sudden Onset: Aversion to specific foods or smells can come on suddenly, even if the person previously enjoyed those foods. It can be challenging to predict which foods will trigger aversions.

3. Variability: Food aversions vary from person to person. What one pregnant person finds aversive, another may not, and vice versa.

4. Likely Causes: The exact cause of food aversions is not fully understood, but hormonal changes, particularly the pregnancy hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), are believed to play a role. Sensitivity to smells and taste changes can also contribute.

5. Impact on Nutrition: Food aversions can impact a person’s nutritional intake, especially if they involve essential nutrients. For example, if a pregnant person has an aversion to meat or vegetables, they may struggle to meet their protein and nutrient requirements.

6. Coping Strategies: Coping with food aversions may involve finding alternative foods that provide similar nutrients, trying different cooking methods, or exploring food options that are more tolerable. It’s essential to focus on maintaining a balanced diet despite aversions.

7. Temporary Nature: In many cases, food aversions are temporary and tend to subside as pregnancy progresses, especially after the first trimester. However, they can persist throughout pregnancy for some individuals.

8. Hydration: Staying hydrated is crucial during pregnancy. If food aversions make it challenging to consume enough solid foods, fluids, such as water and clear soups, can help maintain hydration.

9. Dietary Supplements: In cases where food aversions significantly impact dietary intake, healthcare providers may recommend dietary supplements to ensure the person and the baby receive essential nutrients.

10. Consult a Healthcare Provider: If food aversions are severe, causing weight loss, or if there are concerns about inadequate nutrition, it’s essential to consult a healthcare provider for guidance and support.

In summary, food aversions are a common and often temporary aspect of pregnancy. While they can present dietary challenges, pregnant individuals can manage them by exploring alternative food options and seeking guidance from healthcare providers to ensure proper nutrition during this critical time

Pregnancy cravings are a fascinating and normal part of the journey to motherhood. Understanding their causes and patterns can help you navigate this aspect of pregnancy with confidence and joy. By embracing your cravings in moderation, choosing nutrient-rich options, and maintaining a balanced diet, you can satisfy your desires while ensuring the well-being of both you and your growing baby. Remember that every pregnancy is unique, so trust your instincts and enjoy this remarkable chapter in your life.

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