Have you been wondering when your pregnancy cravings will start? I know it’s tough to wait, but the best time to show up is between 4-6 weeks after conception.
And they’re not just about food! You may also have weird pregnancy cravings for things like ice, pickles, and even dirt. It can be a little strange at first, but don’t worry – these are all normal early pregnancy symptoms.
If you have any questions or concerns about what might be happening with your body during this time, please keep reading.
I will provide you with more information on how to deal with those pesky pregnancy cravings!
When do pregnancy cravings start?
Pregnancy cravings usually start in the first trimester. However, the chances are that you will be feeling nauseous and feel full all the time, so it is unlikely that you’ll fill your craving at this point.
However, as soon as you start to feel better (usually by your second trimester), these cravings will intensify and may even start manifesting themselves.
Common pregnancy cravings can be for all different kinds of foods. However, some studies have shown that women tend to crave sweets, salty foods, and spicy food, related to increased metabolism during pregnancy.
The increase in metabolism might also explain why pregnant women seem unable to gain too much weight at certain stages of pregnancy.
Why are pregnancy cravings so strong?
Experts are not clear about the cause of irresistible cravings during pregnancy. Still, it is believed that they could be a mechanism our body has to let us know that we have a nutritional deficiency of vitamin C, calcium, or iron for these necessary nutrients to make themselves available for use by your baby’s developing cells!
Pregnancy cravings are associated with an increased craving for simple carbohydrates, in particular sugar and chocolate. This is more common during the first trimester of pregnancy when you might be experiencing morning sickness or nausea.
Scientists explain cravings due to certain chemical changes that take place in your body during pregnancy that increase your desire for sweet foods, such as increased plasma insulin levels.
How to handle food cravings during pregnancy
When these early pregnancy cravings hit, the only solution is to satisfy them; or you’ll find yourself sinking into a deep depression that will affect your health and make you feel uptight.
There are several things that women can do when such strong urges for food strike:
Get something to eat quickly.
Almost everyone has a stash of chocolate in their drawers or cupboards for such an occasion. Some people also like to collect sweets so that they can satisfy their craving once it strikes.
Get out in the fresh air and go pick up some food from your favorite restaurant. It will not only create good memories, but you’ll be fully satisfied as well!
Please pick up all the ingredients you need to make your favorite dish and cook it while enjoying the sight and smell of food. The urge will slowly subside and be forgotten shortly, especially when you know that you’ll get full soon enough!
Don’t stash on-hand junk food.
If you buy some snickers or drop it by your desk every day, you’re only making the problem worse. Your craving is not going to disappear suddenly.
Let yourself go
When a craving hits, enjoy eating that chocolate bar like it’s the last one on earth! That way, you don’t have to feel guilty later and will be able to stop at 1 piece instead of 10!
Don’t deny the craving.
Trying to tackle pregnancy cravings head-on is a much better idea than letting them simmer.
Consult your doctor
An even better way of dealing with your pregnancy cravings is to consult your doctor, who will be able to prescribe you something if you’re suffering from morning sickness and have a strong liking for sweets. However, some women like to control their cravings through a positive attitude.
Keep active throughout the day.
Pregnant women are suggested to keep themselves as physically active as possible to not sink into depression and eat more than what is needed for their well-being. This makes it easier for the body to curb such cravings.
Start a healthy diet.
Women who are pregnant should make sure that they eat right, as doing so ensures the well-being and nourishment of the fetus.
If you start eating healthier, your pregnancy craving for high-fat or high sugar foods will subside naturally. Also, adopting a healthy diet prevents excess weight gain during pregnancy, which can be very hard to get rid of later.
A trick most pregnant women recommend if they are craving sweets is to chew some sugar-free gum after meals and while experiencing pregnancy cravings. This often helps curb the craving for something sweet and keeps your mouth busy, so you don’t eat sweets.
Drink lots of water
In addition to eating right, women are also advised to stay well hydrated. When you drink plenty of water, your body can easily get over these cravings and keep them from taking a stronger hold on you.
Distract yourself with other activities
Avoid getting stressed out by trying out some new hobbies that will make you feel better. There’s always something new out there to learn, and pregnancy is a great time in your life to do so!
How long do pregnancy cravings last?
For many women, cravings and aversions subside once they reach the second trimester of pregnancy. For some, however, these symptoms may last until the third trimester or even until childbirth.
They typically start around the second or third month of pregnancy but can start as early as the first trimester if you’re experiencing morning sickness.
You’ll be able to manage them better. However, if you know, you can expect them in the first place. They tend to peak around the fourth or fifth month, and you’ll feel like you’re ‘craving everything under the sun, so it’s good to be prepared!
What causes cravings?
Cravings are one of the most challenging aspects of being pregnant. The mysterious feeling that makes you want to eat everything in sight can be unbearable and unexpected.
Some specialists say nutrient deficiencies cause it. Others suggest hormonal changes due to pregnancy produce cravings between 60-90%, approximately, for all women who get expecting.”
What causes these sudden food cravings? Cravings during pregnancy have been attributed to several factors, including nutritional needs or hormone fluctuations.
However, some experts believe they may not actually exist at all! It is believed up 70% – 90% percent (approximately) experience them, though.
However, as we dive deeper into the origin, there isn’t much conclusive evidence on what could cause this intense hunger sensation other than just being hungry from nutrient deficiencies.
You can easily get rid of it by eating healthy, and you certainly won’t crave junk food if you eat it normally. The only cravings you might have are for healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, etc.
What should you eat when you have pregnancy food cravings?
You have to try your best to avoid unhealthy foods. Here are a series of foods that will healthily relieve your food cravings:
If you crave chocolate, try dark chocolate instead. Dark chocolate is a rich source of flavonoids that help to relax you. It also contains iron, calcium, and melatonin, which can boost your energy levels without causing you weight gain.
Find some dark chocolate to eat when you have those cravings for something sweet!
If you desire something salty, you can get your fix with vegetables high in sodium. For example, you could opt for celery sticks or make a salt scrub out of an onion and put it on your skin to help you relax.
When you want something sour, you could try some pickled radishes to give yourself a pick-me-up.
A piece of cucumber is a great way to get your craving for something cool, and you can also use it as part of a salt scrub if you want.
For an oniony-tasting snack, you could opt for some fennel or try having some sauerkraut that has been fermented. This has many good bacteria in it that you can also get from yogurt, and you won’t have to worry about any weight gain either.
Lastly, you could try some spinach or other leafy salad vegetables, which will give you a bit of energy, and you’ll feel great at the same time.
If you crave something sweet, you could try some strawberries to satisfy your craving. They’re a good source of fiber, and you can make them into a smoothie with yogurt or eat them fresh as part of a salad.
You could also try some melons if you want something cool. You can mix it into your fruit salad with some mint, and you’ll feel great at the same time you’re relieving your craving.
Apples are also a good choice when you want something sweet, but you can also use them for a salt scrub if you don’t like using vegetables on your skin.
Other fruits that you could choose from include oranges, pears, and peaches.
If you’re craving something crunchy, you could have some whole grain bread or crackers. You can mix them with any cheese that you like to really satisfy your craving.
What is food aversion during pregnancy?
Food aversions occur because of changes in the taste buds or the sense of smell. Food aversion is an unpleasant sensation towards certain foods that generally appears in pregnant women during pregnancy.
We can describe food aversions as a strong desire to avoid particular dishes, but we should also note that only the ones you find repulsive might not work for other mothers-to-be!
Generally speaking, some of the most common food aversions are fish, dairy, eggs, seafood, and meat; garlic usually falls under this category.
Pregnancy cravings can start as early as 4 weeks after conception. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this blog post, it is good to see your doctor and make sure everything is going well with the pregnancy.
Don’t forget that eating healthy foods while pregnant will help maintain a balanced diet for both mom and baby! (Trusted sources 1*, 2*, 3*, 4*)
Medically reviewed and approved by Nataniel Josue M D.