Food Cravings in Early Pregnancy

Posted on Aug 29, 2012 | Blog Posts, Pregnancy Symptoms Category | | Print This Article

Food cravings, food aversions, and everyone’s favorite-morning sickness- all start early in pregnancy. For many women, these symptoms are the first recognizable signs that a little one is one the way.

The main cause is the same for all three-hormonal changes. Some believe that food cravings are also linked to your body’s nutritional needs, though studies have failed to prove this definitively. Those who support the idea suggest that different cravings point to different nutritional deficiencies or needs. They suggest that:

  • Chocolate cravings point to a lack of magnesium in your diet.
  • Craving peaches indicates a need for more beta-carotene.
  • Meat cravings tend to indicate a need for more protein (fortunately, this is an easy one to take care of, since meat will actually give you the protein).
  • Cravings for non-food items, ranging from the fairly mundane ice cubes to truly odd (and dangerous) cravings like cigarette butts, laundry starch or paint chips can be an indicator of a lack of iron in your diet.

There is considerable debate regarding whether or not your food cravings really tell you anything about your nutritional needs. That said, all of the common suggestions (your body needs more Magnesium, beta-carotene, iron, protein, etc.) point to dietary needs that all pregnant women have anyway. So, there’s no harm in making sure you’re addressing those needs. If it turns out those who believe your body is telling you something are wrong, the worst that will happen is you’ll take in extra nutrients that your body needs.

Don’t be Afraid to Indulge Yourself

For the most part, dealing with food cravings is fairly simple. If you crave it and it isn’t dangerous, go ahead and eat it. Even if it’s not exactly healthy (chocolate covered pickles, anyone?), there’s nothing wrong with indulging a craving for weird food combinations. If you find yourself craving non-food items, especially if you’re considering actually eating them, contact your doctor.

In indulging your cravings, though, don’t forget to also eat healthy foods and drink lots of fluids. While there’s not usually any harm in giving your body what it’s asking for, you do need to make sure you’re getting the nutrition that you and your baby need.

photo by: Michael_Lehet

   Top of Page