Curious about when pregnancy cravings start and how to manage them? Keep reading to find out more!
RELATED: 21 Foods To Avoid While Pregnant
In this article:
- When Do Pregnancy Cravings Start?
- Are Pregnancy Cravings Normal?
- What Do Pregnancy Cravings Mean?
- Why Do Pregnant Women Have Cravings?
- What Are Some Common Pregnancy Cravings?
- Can Pregnancy Cravings Determine Gender?
- What Should You Know About Your Diet During Pregnancy Cravings?
- When Should You Visit a Doctor About Your Pregnancy Cravings?
- How Do You Handle Crazy Pregnancy Cravings?
- Why Should You Take Weight Gain Seriously During Pregnancy Cravings?
- Should You Be Resisting Early Pregnancy Cravings?
- Do Pregnancy Cravings Make You Eat More?
- Do Pregnancy Cravings Make You Eat Less?
- Are Cravings About the Food You Need?
- Is There a Chance of Not Craving Food at All During Pregnancy?
- What Is Pregnancy Food Aversion?
- Why Do You Have an Aversion to Some Foods?
When Do Pregnancy Cravings Start and How to Handle Them
1. When Do Pregnancy Cravings Start?
When do cravings start in pregnancy? While pregnancy cravings depend highly on the individual, they typically start in the first trimester when the first wave of hormones starts to enter the bloodstream.
They may kick in as early as the first week of conception and peak in the second trimester. By the third trimester, cravings decline and often completely disappear after giving birth.
2. Are Pregnancy Cravings Normal?
Yes, pregnancy cravings are totally normal! In fact, 50-90% of women experience pregnancy cravings, according to a study.
There’s no limit to the kinds of food pregnant women crave. Expectant mommies can crave chocolate, avocado, fast food, cheese, potato chips, and even crave pickles!
3. What Do Pregnancy Cravings Mean?
Pregnancy cravings are sudden urges to consume certain types of foods, which affect many pregnant women. Usually, pregnant women crave foods that are easily accessible in stores.
Other pregnant women also crave unusual foods like those they don’t normally eat.
4. Why Do Pregnant Women Have Cravings?
Cravings may be attributed to the extreme hormonal changes during pregnancy. Rapid hormonal changes greatly impact taste and smell, which explains why pregnant women and those going through menopause experience cravings and aversions.
Cravings may also be the body’s way of coping with all the physical changes and the extra work it is doing during pregnancy.
5. What Are Some Common Pregnancy Cravings?
Most pregnant women are craving salty food, dark chocolate, and spicy meals. There are also some who like to munch on a tart or sour foods.
It is also pretty common for some women to have weird food cravings during pregnancy, like the pickles-and-ice-cream combo often depicted in pop culture.
6. Can Pregnancy Cravings Determine Gender?
Old wives’ tales say craving sweets means you are having a girl, and if you’re craving something salty or spicy, you are having a boy. However, there is no scientific evidence to back up any of these claims.
7. What Should You Know About Your Diet During Pregnancy Cravings?
Pregnancy food cravings may be tempting, but you should always watch out for the nutrition you get from the foods you consume. You should eat a well-balanced diet that contains legumes, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, reduced-fat dairy foods, and lean proteins.
This ensures you get the proper nutrients your body needs, as well as your baby’s.
Eating large amounts of unhealthy foods high in chemicals, sugar, and fat can result in gestational diabetes and excessive weight gain, which can last even after you give birth. Finally, make sure to eat regularly because drops in blood sugar can trigger cravings.
What is gestational diabetes? It is a condition where a pregnant woman’s blood sugar level shoots up due to the lack of production of insulin.
8. When Should You Visit a Doctor About Your Pregnancy Cravings?
Although pregnancy cravings are expected when you’re pregnant, some cravings may be dangerous to some extent and may prompt a visit to a physician. One condition that may be alarming is pica, where you crave non-food items such as soap and dirt that can be poisonous.
Others also crave drugs or alcohol, which potentially puts their babies in danger.
9. How Do You Handle Crazy Pregnancy Cravings?
There are simple and easy ways to manage your “unhealthy” cravings, so you can minimize your consumption of not-so-healthy foods:
- If there’s an urge for you to eat sweets, a brownie sundae, for example, try “cheating” your mind by waiting to eat, given you already have eaten in the last 2 hours. Taking your mind off unhealthy foods allows you to practice controlling the urge to eat them. You can go for a short walk, read your favorite books, or hang out with a friend instead.
- When cravings for sweets cannot be stopped, say you want a candy, get the fun-size bar instead of the king size. This limits the amount of added sugar you take when consuming sweets.
- Focus on foods low in calories like low-fat fudge bars or frozen yogurt as they do the trick when you want high-calorie treats, like a premium ice cream.
- Eat breakfast each day, so you can start your day full, well-nourished, and less susceptible to morning snacks. For example, you can prepare a breakfast meal with a combination of a glass of low-fat milk, half a whole-grain English muffin, a medium-sized orange, and a hard-boiled egg.
- Perform regular exercise since staying fit can distract you from food cravings during pregnancy and curb hunger. You can do a light exercise each morning, such as walking for 30 minutes outside.
- Plan your healthy snacks, so they are ready to eat when you are hungry. If you don’t prepare your snacks and feel a sudden hunger, you might eat foods that are unhealthy and unnecessary.
- Get emotional support from someone you love to fight mood swings caused by your hormones. If you’re frequently visited by mood swings, you might turn to food to make you feel better. Talking to or hanging out with a loved one can help you divert your attention from cravings.
- Do something you love, so your mind is occupied with your activity. You can decorate your room if you’re an artistic person or listen to music while doing light household chores, such as arranging things in your kitchen. As simple as these things are, you won’t notice you’ve missed your snack time.
10. Why Should You Take Weight Gain Seriously During Pregnancy Cravings?
Food cravings during pregnancy are usually those that are unhealthy, which is the reason why most women gain weight.
The problem does not end there though because the more a pregnant woman gains weight, the harder it is to get rid of excess weight after giving birth, which can lead to postpartum weight retention.
For this reason, pregnant women should always keep in mind that giving in to your cravings is good, but taking a healthier option is even better.
11. Should You Be Resisting Early Pregnancy Cravings?
Resisting pregnancy cravings is a good choice if you’re thinking about staying healthy before giving birth. Not giving in to your cravings is considered safe because the urge for foods is only an effect of the hormonal changes impacting your taste and smell.
If you can’t resist your cravings, always remember that consuming moderate amounts is the best option.
12. Do Pregnancy Cravings Make You Eat More?
Yes, it does if you constantly give in to frequent cravings, especially for high-calorie foods. As was previously mentioned, eating moderate amounts will control your daily calories while satisfying your cravings.
13. Do Pregnancy Cravings Make You Eat Less?
Yes, it is possible. If you were used to eating a diet high in protein and you crave sweets when you’re pregnant, chances are, you may be eating less because when you start to taste the food you’re not used to, you may not feel like eating it at all.
Cravings are mostly emotionally driven, and your taste buds react to foods they are not fond of.
14. Are Cravings About the Food You Need?
A study revealed that the cravings are associated with the nutrients you need from the foods you want. For example, if you’re craving chocolates or chickpeas, you’re actually needing magnesium or protein, respectively.
These cravings are directing you to the foods packed with the nutrients your body really needs.
Another study showed that cravings are not actually significant because researchers failed to see the connection between blood or dietary deficiencies and the foods you crave. They concluded that the cravings are just a psychological desire among pregnant women.
15. Is There a Chance of Not Craving Food at All During Pregnancy?
There are cases where you don’t like eating any particular food and everything feels like it’s just not appetizing. You don’t love or hate anything in particular. This is a result of changing nutritional needs while you’re pregnant or your hormones affect your sense of taste and smell.
Foods may taste bland and plain where you won’t even have a normal appetite to eat.
16. What Is Pregnancy Food Aversion?
If there are typical pregnancy cravings, there is also pregnancy aversion where you dislike certain foods, such as those with strong tastes, spicy ones, runny or sticky foods, fermented foods, and animal products. But, this does not apply to these foods only because it depends on the individual. Some women may crave these types of foods, too.
17. Why Do You Have an Aversion to Some Foods?
Cravings in pregnancy and food aversions don’t come from the same place because aversions are triggered by an oversensitivity of disgust. These foods may be those that you had a bad experience with or that are just too strongly-scented or flavored for you to handle well.
Learn more about pregnancy cravings in this video by Life Unfold:
Don’t stress out when your pregnancy cravings start. Again, normal pregnancy cravings are common, and there are many ways to deal with them. If your cravings are unmanageable, it’s best to consult your doctor to provide you with a healthier option to cope with your food cravings.
Have you ever had weird cravings during pregnancy? Share them in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on November 1, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.