What’s eating you? Pregnancy cravings explained

pregnancy cravings explained

That little human growing in your belly sure does strange things to your body – like making you lust after a pickle covered in chocolate sauce resting on a bed of ice-cream, with a sprinkling of chilli flakes.

Food cravings are one of the most common first trimester symptoms, and they range from yearning for anything sweet or salty to the most incredibly ridiculous culinary combinations.

And if you think your food cravings are crazy, wait ’till you see what other mums are feasting on!

Why am I craving strange food?

If you’re hankering for food that would usually make your stomach turn, you’re among the 90 per cent of preggo mummas’ dealing with cravings. This pregnancy symptom kicks into high gear in the first trimester, as hormones hit their peak.

Just like at other times during your life, things like being tired or emotional can also get you craving food, but why you crave such strange combinations is still an unknown. Science thinks it could be our bodies trying to replace or boost things in our system or stop us from eating things we shouldn’t (which is what happens with pregnancy food aversions).

Wondering if your food craving is strange or normal? Take a look at what other mums are yearning to eat during pregnancy:

what mums say - pregnancy symptoms explained

“Hash browns with lettuce as long as the lettuce had salt all over it.” – Abbey

“With my first, I craved lemons and limes! Ate them like apples.” – Amanda

“Eucalyptus. I really wanted to eat my Vicks so I had to go out and buy eucalyptus lollies.” – Terri

“Mini sweet gherkin pickles dipped in hot chocolate sauce meant for ice cream, could not get enough!” – Sherry

“Cheese and ice cubes.” – Delina

“Straight up white vinegar … all day every day, I was obsessed with it to the point I took it with me in travel mugs to sip on when I was out. I would go through two gallons of it a week and it was always on my shopping list.” – Corrina

What can I do about it?

Not much! It’s one of the few times in your life you can give in to your cravings – as long as it’s in moderation. You can try swapping out some of your less-healthy cravings if you think you’re indulging in too much junk food – like ditching the chips and tucking into some air-popped popcorn with only a small sprinkling of salt, or none at all.

Here are some ways to try and quash those unhealthy cravings:

  • Eat regular, healthy meals.
  • Keep healthy snacks on hand.
  • Don’t do the grocery shopping when you are hungry.
  • Choose healthy, low GI foods – things like unsweetened rolled oats (porridge), wholegrain bread and cracker biscuits, baked beans and fresh fruit will keep you feeling fuller for longer.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Those who are sleep deprived tend to reach for junk food more often.

(source: Health Direct)

What if I’m craving non-food items?

If you find yourself keen to consume something strange, like dirt or soap, you may have another pregnancy condition called pica. This can be serious, so make sure you visit your doctor or midwife.

If you’d like read more about being pregnant then hop on over to our mums guide for pregnancy symptoms.