Why Do We Have Pregnancy Cravings?

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Whether you’re up at all hours, hands scrabbling at the bottom of a Twisties packet, desperate for just ONE MORE morsel of deliciousness or using the cup holder in the car to hold an open punnet of olives so that you don’t have to wait a second longer to dive into their salty deliciousness (guilty as charged), cravings are all part of the pregnancy experience.

pregnancy cravings popcorn

Why do we have pregnancy cravings?

It’s estimated that pregnancy cravings occur in 50-90% of pregnancies! While the exact cause is unknown, medical professionals believe that cravings are due to a combination of hormonal and cultural reasons. Our hormones shift dramatically during pregnancy (you don’t need to tell that to any woman who’s been pregnant and bust into tears during the first 30 seconds of the news), including shifts to the hormones that control appetite and metabolism. Our cultural background and where we live also has a role to play. Studies have shown that women in countries where fresh food is not plentiful will often crave things like fresh fruit or quality meats. Women in the western world however are most likely to crave dairy and sweet foods.

The Healthy Mummy community common pregnancy cravings

We quizzed the mama’s to be on the Facebook Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Support Group along with the Healthy Mummy team to find out their most common pregnancy cravings.

1.Delicious dairy 

Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Chocolate Smoothie

It seems all things dairy make pregnant women very, very happy (and this, non-pregnant woman as well!)

” Thickshakes with my first and toast with my second! This one, a bit of both!” Annette
” Milk – I drank at least a litre a day!” Heather
” With my second daughter it was spaghetti bolognese and strawberry milk every day.”

Dairy cravings can be due to your body wanting more calcium so make sure you’re including plenty of dairy and non dairy sources in your diet. This delicious Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Choc-Mint Smoothie fits the bill as a cravings crusher and great source of calcium.

2. CHOCOLATE anything – 

3 ingredient chocolate frudge
Healthy Mummy 3 Ingredient Chocolate Fudge

This may not just be pregnancy specific! Chocolate always rates highly on ‘favourite foods’ lists and while with child it’s not any different.

” For breakfast for 5 weeks, every single day, I had to eat white bread with Nutella.” Bridget
” This pregnancy it’s white milky bar chocolate and packet chocolate mousse.” Kirsty
With my son it was hot chips, Nippies iced chocolate (specifically), chocolate and pizza.” Megan

Cravings for chocolate have been linked to low magnesium levels. You can top them up with magnesium rich food like nuts, dark green leafy veggies, plums, artichokes, and legumes or go for dark chocolate which has higher levels of the mineral. For a delicious, healthy alternative to your usual choccie fix, check out the recipe for our totally indulgent 3 Ingredient Chocolate Fudge (pictured).

3. Salty and fried

Spinach Ricotta Filo Rolls

Mmmmm if the smell of hot chips has you running for the nearest fish and chip shop and demanding they cook you a minimum of $10 worth, you’re not alone!

“I’m pretty much living on olives at 33 weeks!” Michelle
“When all you want is a hot dog from Wendy’s and nothing else will beat that for days and days you have to cave!” Meggan
Mine weren’t too crazy but it did make my partner drive 100kms return to get me KFC chicken nuggets and a lime milkshake!” Alex

Cravings for salty, fried food as very common during pregnancy and can sometimes be due to low sodium levels. You can top up your levels with an electrolyte packed drink like coconut water.

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