Beyond the Snacks: What Pregnancy Cravings Reveal

One of the strangest things about being pregnant has got to be the cravings. We’ve all heard crazy stories about women eating coal or sponges – but thankful these types of cravings aren’t too common. Studies show that 50-90% of pregnant women experience cravings for specific foods and these are usually high-sugar and high-fat foods, not nutrient-dense foods. But there is a theory that craving certain items can indicate a lack of a specific vitamin or mineral. So just for fun, let’s have a look at some pregnancy cravings and what they might mean.

Cravings can kick in right at the beginning of pregnancy – anytime between 2 and 12 weeks and it’s thought they are caused by hormonal changes or a heightened sense of taste and smell.

Related post: Sweet, Salty, sour or spicy? Which one are you?

pregnancy cravings blog graphic: close up of pregnant belly

Non-Food Pregnancy Cravings

Some nutritionists think that craving things like ice, soil or clay (a condition known as pica) are linked to an iron or zinc deficiency. However, there is not enough research about this to know if this is true or not. Pica, which comes from the Latin word for magpie (a bird known for eating almost anything), is a worldwide phenomenon – most commonly seen in children – but can occur for some people during pregnancy. If you are craving non-food substances during your pregnancy, you must seek advice from your midwife or doctor. Eating nonfood substances can interfere with your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and may even cause a deficiency, which could then affect the nutrients your baby is able to absorb during pregnancy, leading to birth disorders. 


Some pregnant women crave only certain types of chocolate, whether that be white, dark, or milk chocolate. Regardless of which type of chocolate you prefer, there is nothing out of the ordinary about chocolate cravings. Unlike some other pregnancy cravings, there is actually no definitive link between hormonal changes and chocolate cravings.

However, some practitioners believe that craving chocolate is a sign of a magnesium deficiency. While chocolate is inherently dangerous, eating too much of it is definitely not a good idea for your health! Try eating foods high in magnesium and see if this helps your cravings. Foods such as whole grains, nuts, seeds and spinach are all high in magnesium.


It’s quite common to have an urge to eat red meat during pregnancy. Sometimes even people who typically avoid red meat or are vegetarian find themselves with this craving. It seems like it could be the body craving protein to ‘build a baby’ but is it really that simple! Surely if our bodies were so good at craving what we needed, we’d all be fit and healthy, living off broccoli and steamed rice!


Pickles are a really common pregnancy craving, and as they are high in sodium, you might think that’s what your body needs. Whilst high-sodium foods aren’t dangerous in moderation, you don’t want to be consuming them in vast quantities. Drink plenty of water if this is your craving and choose low-sodium brands where possible.

Cultural Cravings

It seems that some pregnancy cravings may be cultural. Whilst pickles are a common craving in the West, the most common pregnancy craving in Japan is rice! Culture plays a strong role in our eating habits, as do the anecdotes and stories from friends and family.

close up image of pregnant belly

There is no scientific evidence to support the theory that your pregnancy cravings mean anything but it’s fun to wonder why we have them.

I’d love to hear about your weird and wonderful pregnancy cravings – comment below.

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  • Corinne31 May 2023 - 22:03

    I craved coke and cheesy things as they were the things that helped with the sickness! ReplyCancel

    • admin1 June 2023 - 14:10

      I know that soda can ease digestion and I once read coke helps with stomach blockage. Didn’t know it helps with sickness. thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Molly | Transatlantic Notes2 June 2023 - 14:31

    For those who have experienced pregnancy, this must have been quite an interesting (and sometimes unusual) experience. It’s definitely fun to think about what the cravings could mean because there has to be something specific to it even though scientific research maybe hasn’t quite caught up with this. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

    • admin2 June 2023 - 16:22

      Yeah, definitely a unique experience as no other! I believe that when we crave something (pregnant or not, but especially during pregnancy) is a response to our body lacking something else 😉 ReplyCancel

  • Raji5 June 2023 - 21:12

    Thanks for sharing, this was an interesting read!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa's Notebook6 June 2023 - 11:14

    I had a craving for milk and bacon – so I drank a pint of milk and ate a chicken and bacon sandwich for lunch every day for about 6 months! And yes, my daughter loves milk and bacon sandwiches now too 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Valentina8 June 2023 - 14:29

      Oh wow! Bacon sandwich every day for 6  months? Not sure I could do it for more than a week. I guess pregnancy makes us doing strange things 😉 Thanks for reading and sharing your experience Lisa.ReplyCancel

  • Lauren5 July 2023 - 17:33

    I haven’t had a baby yet, but I am sure many parents will probably be able to relate to this post. Thank you for sharing. 

    Lauren – bournemouthgirlReplyCancel

  • Lauren5 July 2023 - 17:34

    I haven’t had a baby yet, but I am sure many people will be able to relate to this post. Thank you for sharing. ReplyCancel

    • Valentina7 July 2023 - 15:11

      Some women have cravings, others don’t. Some have very weird cravings haha Thanks for stopping by LaurenReplyCancel

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