Why do you get cravings when you’re pregnant?

Purple Ampersand

Cravings in pregnancy are very common. Sometimes they are normal, like wanting to eat chip butty’s and noodles, and sometimes they are strange and dangerous, like wanting to eat soap or ash!

The reason you have these cravings is that you need certain nutrients. And the foods you’re craving contain these. When your body is growing a baby, it needs a higher than normal amount of nutrients, hence the strong cravings. Unfortunately, we often crave the unhealthy option for those nutrients. The good news is, there are always healthy options to get those nutrients too!

Four of the most common pregnancy cravings are:

1. Chocolate (although to be fair, I always crave chocolate!)

Craving chocolate usually indicates the need for magnesium. But there’s fortunately/unfortunately (depends on how you look at it) a far healthier way to get magnesium. Foods like nuts, dark green leafy vegetables, plums, and legumes contain high levels of magnesium.

2. Milk

This usually means that your body is looking for calcium. Other good sources of calcium include chia seeds, almonds, figs, rhubarb, spinach and kale.

3. Salty and pickled foods

Pickles and chips are a common craving for pregnant women. It may mean that you’re lacking in sodium. If that is the case, and it’s not because you’re like me and just love eating crisps and salty chips, try a healthy electrolyte to re-balance your salts. Coconut water is a great natural electrolyte drink.

4. Cold foods

Some people crave cold foods like ice. Often, if you feel the need for something icy in your mouth, you may be deficient in B vitamins or iron. You can boost your iron and B vitamins through foods like beef, sardines, dark leafy greens, beans, and legumes.

Then there are Non-Food Cravings

Cravings for non-edible things like dirt or soap is a sign of a condition called Pica. This is potentially dangerous as some items, if eaten, may have serious health effects for both you and your baby. If you have begun eating items that are not food, then please seek immediate help from your midwife or GP.

Have you got/did you have any strange cravings? Comment below.

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