Food Cravings During Pregnancy

Dr. Jolene BrightenPublished: Last Reviewed: Pregnancy 2 Comments

Food cravings during pregnancy are not only real, they can also provide insight into what nutrients your body may need.

Have you ever found yourself searching the cupboards for a chocolate bar because it would go perfect with cheese? Or perhaps you are thinking a pickle would taste good on top of your ice cream.

Chances are, if odd food combinations have become more of a routine in your life lately, you are probably a pregnant lady.

Most cravings during pregnancy are completely harmless; however, these cravings may provides clues about what nutrients your body needs during pregnancy.

What your food cravings might be telling you…

Craving Salty Foods? 

This may be an indication that your body needs more electrolytes.

The average blood volume of a pregnant woman increases by about 35%. Adequate dietary sodium is necessary to keep that extra fluid in the blood rather than the tissues in the body, which would result in edema or swelling of the feet.

Yes, your salt cravings and swollen feet may be related! 

Green leafy vegetables can provide minerals and salting food with natural salts like pink Himalayan salt or sea salt to taste can offer the sodium and minerals your body is craving.

Craving Sweets? 

Your body may actually be trying to tell you it would like some fruit, which is rich in bioflavonoids and vitamins.

Or it may be an issue with blood sugar regulation, which may point to a need for some key minerals involved with blood sugar balance- chromium, magnesium, manganese, vanadium, and zinc.

It's easy for the message “sweet” to get confused in our brain and even easier to find ourselves indulging on candy or soda for that quick fix.

Craving sweets can also be a sign of hunger or a signal that the body and the baby need more fuel. It is important to regulate how much sugar is consumed during pregnancy since it can increase the risk of gestational diabetes.

Reach for fruit instead!

If you're craving something sweet, reach for a piece of fruit first. I know that a donut might sound a whole lot better, but fresh fruits and vegetables will not only satisfy the craving, they will also provide you with nutrients that support baby's development, protect you against illness, and give your skin added nutrition for the changes that come with pregnancy.

Craving Chocolate?

Research focused on women in the U.S. have proposed that the craving of chocolate may actually be linked more to a stress response and feelings of deprivation than an actual need for nutrients.

When you find yourself craving chocolate, step back and think about how you are feeling. Take 5 minutes to do some deep breathing and see how you feel after that. If you still want chocolate, have a bit (not a bar) of dark chocolate.

Sometimes chocolate cravings may just be part of the normal hormone changes you're experiencing.

On the other hand, your cravings for chocolate may be driven by a need for more magnesium. Magnesium is involved in hundreds of metabolic processes and is important for muscle relaxation, cardiovascular health, hormone production and neurotransmitter synthesis.

Concerned About Cravings?

Every craving may not be significant and may be a normal part of your pregnancy. Most experts agree that there is no issue to giving into food cravings as long as you are mindful of the portions you are eating and choosing the most nutrient dense options.

If you have concerns about your cravings and how that may be impacting your pregnancy, talk with your doctor. Otherwise, enjoy those crazy food combinations and explore what your palate enjoys!

 I'd love to know what you've been craving.
Please share with us in the comment section below!

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About The Author

Dr. Jolene Brighten

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Dr. Jolene Brighten, NMD, is a women’s hormone expert and prominent leader in women’s medicine. As a licensed naturopathic physician who is board certified in naturopathic endocrinology, she takes an integrative approach in her clinical practice. A fierce patient advocate and completely dedicated to uncovering the root cause of hormonal imbalances, Dr. Brighten empowers women worldwide to take control of their health and their hormones. She is the best selling author of Beyond the Pill and Healing Your Body Naturally After Childbirth. Dr. Brighten is an international speaker, clinical educator, medical advisor within the tech community, and considered a leading authority on women’s health. She is a member of the MindBodyGreen Collective and a faculty member for the American Academy of Anti Aging Medicine. Her work has been featured in the New York Post, Forbes, Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, Bustle, The Guardian, Sports Illustrated, Elle, and ABC News. Read more about me here.