Melanie McGrice

Melanie McGrice

You’re in the early stages of your pregnancy and you’ve got a sudden desire for pickles and ice-cream…

Or perhaps you’ve got a hankering for some salty hot chips…

Maybe you’ve got a sweet tooth and can’t think about anything else other than a block of chocolate…

Safe to say, the pregnancy cravings have started to kick in.

Firstly, you are not alone. Research shows that around 50% of women experience cravings during their pregnancy. The exact cause of these cravings is relatively unknown. However, many theories suggest that it may be linked to nutritional deficiencies and these cravings are your body’s way of telling you what you might be lacking.


Here are the top 3 reasons why you might be experiencing pregnancy cravings
  1. You’re dehydrated

If you are craving foods such as vegemite, chips or tomato soup, there is a good chance you might be dehydrated. Salt helps our body to retain more fluid. If you’re not drinking enough water, there’s a possibility that your body will crave salty foods to help you drink more water and retain more fluid.

  1. You’re low in iron

Iron requirements skyrocket during pregnancy! Particularly, during the second and third trimesters.  To give you some perspective, men only require 8 milograms per day, whereas we require 27 milograms per day during pregnancy.

When we’re low in iron, we can become extremely exhausted. If we need iron, we need iron, and our body will make you crave what you need to make sure you get it!

  1. You’re not eating regularly enough

Your appetite increases during pregnancy, and pregnancy hormones block the action of insulin which can also impact your appetite… so this means that you need to eat smaller meals, more regularly.

If you try to eat the way you used to eat, skipping snacks, and having late meals because you’re caught up with other priorities, there’s a good chance that you’ll crave sugary foods.


What if my cravings aren’t for food?

In some cases, pregnant women can develop a craving to eat substances that are not food, such as dirt, soap or chalk. This is known as a condition called pica and may be linked to a lack of iron. Cases of Pica are quite rare in well nourished women from developed countries such as Australia. If you are experiencing these types of cravings it may be worth seeking further advice from your health care professional.


How do I manage my pregnancy cravings?

Pregnancy is a time where good nutrition is vital. While it is important to listen to your body and ensure you are getting all the nutrients required for a healthy pregnancy, eating a large greasy burger probably isn’t going to give you the nutrients your body is looking for, is it?

If it’s cravings for sugary, salty or fatty foods that you need to curb, make sure you check out my video on ‘how to manage pregnancy cravings’ for tips that will help you stay on track towards a healthy pregnancy diet.


You may also like to read:

Going organic when expecting: what are the benefits?

Food and Fertility: What should you eat when trying to conceive