Discover the truth about pregnancy cravings and the potential consequences of ignoring them. Learn why a balanced diet is key during pregnancy and how to satisfy your cravings in a healthy way.
The products mentioned on this page were independently selected by Babycious editors. As an Amazon Associate, Babycious may earn a commission from qualifying purchases.
Suddenly feeling desperate for foods that never interested you before? Don’t worry, it’s normal. Pregnancy cravings are a real thing and for many pregnant women, these cravings can become intense. An estimated 50 to 90 percent of women in the US reported having food cravings during pregnancy. But those cravings are not always good for you and they can even be extremely unhealthy. So what happens if you ignore your pregnancy cravings?
It is important to keep in mind that ignoring your pregnancy cravings may not have any negative effects on you or your baby, some cravings can lead to inadequate nutrition. This could, in turn, mean potential health issues for you and the baby. Eating a balanced diet is key during pregnancy, so if your cravings are leading you astray it may be wise to focus on providing your body with the nutrients it needs instead of indulging every single craving.
It’s also important to stress that there is no wrong way to respond to pregnancy cravings. Although some health organizations may recommend one approach, it’s ultimately up to you and your body what the best course of action is when it comes to satisfying those cravings or curbing them (more on that below).
Pregnancy Cravings: Indulge or Resist?
When it comes to pregnancy cravings, some health organizations recommend finding a healthy balance between indulging and resisting. If you choose to indulge in your cravings, it’s important to maintain a balanced diet and get the essential nutrients that your body needs for both you and the baby. For instance, if you find yourself craving sweets or unhealthy snacks like potato chips, try to find a compromise between indulging and resisting. Balance out the unhealthy cravings with healthier options like fruits and vegetables, or swap in more nutrient-rich snacks that are lower in sugar.
I have personally found that one of the best strategies in dealing with pregnancy cravings is to indulge responsibly. This is especially adequate if you are also dealing with nausea, and the only thing that’s keeping the morning sickness at bay is to eat certain foods you are craving!
Size-controlled indulging: Indulge your food cravings in snack size or kids size instead of full size.
Regardless of whether you choose to indulge your cravings or resist them, it’s important to be mindful of the nutritional value of your food choices and get the proper nutrients you need for both you and your baby during pregnancy. But most importantly: don’t feel guilty about what you eat! It is essential to take care of yourself and make sure that your body has all the support it needs by eating the right kind of foods and getting enough rest.
When to say “No” to pregnancy cravings
Sometimes pregnancy cravings can be unreasonable or simply harmful to you and/or your baby if you give in to them.
Foods such as raw fish and unpasteurized dairy products should be avoided during pregnancy since they can contain listeria or other bacteria that could harm the fetus. In addition, foods with high levels of mercury in them such as certain types of fish should also be avoided due to potential adverse effects on fetal development. Sugary foods, processed snacks, and other unhealthy options since they can lead to health issues such as gestational diabetes and obesity. Caffeine intake is another concern during pregnancy; it’s best to limit caffeine consumption to 200mg a day.
Trying to find “real food” alternatives to your “empty-calories processed food” cravings can be key to a healthy pregnancy. Think fruit when you crave something sweet, or a low-carb alternative for salty cravings.
When talking about pregnancy cravings, it’s important to distinguish them from non-nutritive substances cravings (also known as PICA) which is an eating disorder where a person craves non-food items such as clay, chalk, ice, or paper. PICA cravings which are not exclusive to pregnancy can be extremely dangerous and should be addressed by your doctor immediately if you experience them.
10 Tips to curb your pregnancy food cravings
- Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated can help reduce hunger and make it easier for you to resist unhealthy cravings.
- Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep can lead to increased cravings, so aim for seven to nine hours per night.
- Eat small meals throughout the day: Eating smaller meals more frequently can help keep your hunger in check and reduce cravings.
- Exercise regularly: Keeping active can help reduce cravings as well as increase endorphins, which will make you feel better overall.
- Avoid triggers: Try to identify certain foods or activities that trigger your cravings and avoid them if possible.
- Focus on healthy snacks: When you feel like snacking, reach for something more nutritious like fruit, nuts, or yogurt instead of processed foods.
- Find a distraction: Try to find activities that help occupy your time and distract you from cravings such as taking a walk or reading a book.
- Eat complex carbohydrates: Eating complex carbohydrates like whole grains and legumes can help keep your blood sugar levels steady which can reduce cravings.
- Get support: Talk to someone you trust about your cravings or join a pregnancy support group to receive advice from others who may have gone through similar experiences.
- Treat yourself: If you do give in to your cravings, don’t beat yourself up about it! Allow yourself occasional treats (in small/snack size) when you feel like it and remind yourself that indulging is okay in moderation.
At the end of the day, pregnancy cravings are a normal part of pregnancy and should not be something to worry or stress about. The key is to listen to your body and find a balance between indulging and resisting your cravings in order to maintain a healthy pregnancy.
If you find that cravings are getting out of hand or you’re having difficulty controlling them, it’s important to seek the help of your healthcare provider as they can provide insight and advice on how best to manage them.
Pregnancy cravings are nothing to worry about, and ignoring them can be a good strategy if they become too difficult to manage – just make sure to get the essential nutrients you need from other sources. Remember that it’s important to maintain a balanced diet and get enough rest, as well as finding healthy ways of indulging in your cravings. Furthermore, if you experience any non-food related cravings or feel like something is out of control seek medical help right away.
Happy pregnancy cravings! Try not to let them take over.
The purpose of this article is informative and educational only. It’s not a substitute for medical consultation or medical care. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss, or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Babycious may earn compensation from affiliate links in this content.