If you’re anything like us, you’re no stranger to weird cravings. From dipping salty fries in ice cream and drizzling honey on pizza to dunking salted crisps in Nutella and eating peanut butter on a burger — when it comes to bizarre food, we’ve been there, done that, and got the t-shirt!
That said, while the typical “I’m hangry,” or “I’m PMSing” cravings are just as strange as they are powerful, the “I’m pregnant” cravings are often on a whole other level.
Salty, sweet, spicy, sour, and savory — pregnancy cravings can run the gamut. But what do they mean? We’ll tell you. Read on as we explore some of the weirdest pregnancy cravings to uncover what they mean and why your body wants them. Are you ready?
Let’s dive in.
Everything You Need To Know About Pregnancy Cravings
Have a hankering for pickles? Gotta get your hands on some red meat? Feel like you need some ice to munch on or even… a few crayons?!
Experts aren’t totally sure why pregnancy makes you crave certain foods (and despise others!), but some experts suggest Neuropeptide Y (NPY) — a potent appetite stimulant responsible for hunger signals — could be to blame.
Other researchers, however, believe pregnancy cravings are mostly psychological — unless, of course, you’ve developed a type of glucose intolerance specific to pregnancy, a common medical condition known as gestational diabetes.
According to their research, these pregnant women will crave sweets at a very high rate, especially during the second trimester.
When Do Pregnancy Cravings Start?
Everyone will have their own unique pregnancy cravings and at different times; no two are exactly the same. But in general, pregnancy cravings typically start by the end of the first trimester, peak in the second trimester, and tend to decline as the third trimester comes to an end.
That being said, early pregnancy cravings aren’t anything unusual, with some women developing strong urges to nosh on weird stuff as early as the second week. In fact, for some ladies, that inexplicable yearning for chocolate covered in cheese or a pickle sundae topped with hot sauce can be the first clue suggesting that there’s a bun in the oven.
What Are Food Aversions?
While many moms-to-be have pregnancy cravings, others might also experience a sudden repulsion for foods that have always appealed to them before getting pregnant. This is known as food aversions.
It’s estimated that around 60 percent of pregnant women experience food aversions. Although it can vary from person to person, the most common food aversions include:
- Spicy food
- Greasy food
For some pregnant moms, food aversions are accompanied by nausea and vomiting — or morning sickness. Aversions and morning sickness often coincide within a week of each other, usually during the first trimester.
5 Bizarre Pregnancy Cravings and What They Mean
Whether your strange pregnancy cravings are due to hormonal changes, sensory changes, nutritional deficiencies, or something else, your new fixation with pickle sundaes may have a deeper meaning.
Here are some of the weirdest pregnancy cravings and why your body may want them:
For many moms-to-be, pickles and pregnancy go hand-and-hand. These salt-and-vinegar-soaked zingers are typical craving culprits that are often enjoyed with a nice bowl of ice cream.
Yup, you read that right — pickles and ice cream; arguably the most infamous combo known today. In fact, this brow-raising duo is so iconic you just might be able to find it as an ice cream flavor at your local grocery store.
So, what can a hankering for pickles mean? In short, increased blood volume raises a pregnant woman’s need for sodium, making these salty little morsels a standard go-to. And as for the ice cream, well… when you have something salty, you’ve obviously gotta have something sweet, too!
When it comes to satisfying your need for sodium, bacon is right up there next to pickles as a common pregnancy craving. You may also be reaching for the bacon because it combines two essential macronutrients, fat, and protein.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, pregnant women should aim to eat 75 to 100 grams of protein each day and keep their total fat intake between 20 and 35 percent of their total daily calories.
Can’t seem to live without chocolate? Your craving could be due to vitamin deficiencies.
On top of tasting absolutely divine, chocolate is jam-packed with B vitamins, so you may be lacking in that department.
In addition, noshing on chocolate typically leads to the production of tryptophan in the brain. This essential amino acid creates happiness. In other words, eating chocolate makes you happy! It’s no wonder why chocolate is a common craving for pregnant moms!
When cravings strike, opt for dark chocolate to fuel your body with an extra boost of antioxidants. Just be sure not to eat it too close to bedtime, or you may have a difficult time trying to fall asleep.
That said, if you simply can’t curb your late-night craving for sweets, we recommend brewing a cup of our Organic Bedtime Tea with a good dollop of honey before it’s time to hit the hay for a snoozy dose of vitamin Zzzz.
One of the most versatile foods on the planet, avocado is great smeared on toast, delicious in sandwiches, and an excellent vegan alternative to butter, mayonnaise, and sour cream.
If one of your pregnancy cravings is avocados, it could be that your body needs more potassium or iron. This may be your body’s response to
Loaded with B vitamins, including B12 (folate) and vitamins C and E, this superfood is well-worth eating even if you’re not craving it.
In addition, avocado contains many body-nourishing nutrients, such as potassium and magnesium. These minerals are known to ease painful leg cramps, which are pretty common in the later stages of pregnancy.
So if muscle aches are putting a damper on your day, try noshing on some avocado. A little R&R in the bathtub with our 100% natural therapeutic bath salts may also do the trick!
5. Mud, Coal, Matches, Dust, Dirt, Etc.
Does a bowl of dirt sound appealing to you, or perhaps a mud pie? Have an urge to chow down on some chalk? Think your bar of soap looks tasty? If you’re craving non-food items, it can be a sign of pica.
A disorder that sees the persistent eating of substances with no nutritional value, pica isn’t super-common among pregnant women — but it does happen. Some of the most common pica cravings include:
- Laundry starch
- Burnt matches
- Cigarette ashes
- Coffee grounds
- Baking soda
Unfortunately, it’s not known what causes pica, but some experts think it could be connected to iron deficiency and poor nutrition. There aren’t any official tests for pica, but since it might be linked to a nutrition deficiency, your healthcare provider may check your blood for low levels of iron and zinc.
If you find yourself craving weird non-food items, be sure to talk with your OB-GYN, who can help you to get a handle on these bizarre urges. Not only are these items unsafe for you to consume, but they can affect the development of a healthy baby.
Your doc may prescribe you supplements or a different prenatal vitamin in addition to reviewing your current diet and making changes where needed. A psychiatric evaluation may be done as well to see if certain medications can help.
A Final Word With 8 Sheep
And there you have it — five odd pregnancy cravings and why your body may want them.
At the end of the day, pregnancy is not for the faint of heart. From swollen ankles to aches and pains, creating life is tough work. So if you’re craving pickles dipped in cheese or the world’s biggest bowl of pineapple, we say go for it!
Just be sure to practice balance by filling your plate with nutrient-dense whole foods, like eggs, berries, and dark leafy greens.
Find yourself craving non-food items? Make an appointment with your doctor to see if a nutrition deficiency is causing you to have pica. In most cases, pica is due to low iron or zinc and can easily be corrected with supplements as well as a change in diet.
Food aversion during pregnancy and its association with nutritional status of pregnant women in Boricha Woreda, Sidama Regional State, Southern Ethiopia, 2019. A community based mixed cross-sectional study design | Reproductive Health | Full Text