Why Women Get Crazy Pregnancy Cravings

If you're eating pickles straight out of the jar right now, you're not alone.
Save article
ByPaula Kashtan
Updated
Apr 2017
Hero Image

Studies show about 90 percent of expectant women have cravings, particularly in the first trimester. Experts aren’t sure why, but one theory is that your body is simply asking for what it needs. The boost in blood volume increases your need for sodium—hence, you crave pickles.

Why the sudden change in food preferences? Blame it on raging hormones, which are messing with your senses of taste and smell. Hunger, restlessness and difficult emotions can intensify cravings, so make sure to eat breakfast, exercise regularly, and ask for support when you need it.

Moderate indulgence is fine (and totally inevitable), but watch your intake of empty calories—especially if they start to replace important nutrients. Here are some healthy alternatives to common junk food cravings:

Instead of ice cream
Try sorbet, popsicles, low-fat fro-yo

Instead of donuts, pastries
Try whole grain toast with jam

Instead of cookies, cake, pie
Try angel food cake, graham crackers and peanut butter, low-fat banana, zucchini or pumpkin bread, oatmeal with brown sugar and cinnamon, low-fat pudding

Instead of candy
Try trail mix

Instead of chocolate
Try low-fat chocolate milk, low-sugar hot cocoa

Instead of chips
Try popcorn (air-popped or light microwave), pretzels, whole grain cereal

Related Video
Save article

These Are the Two Pregnancy Cravings Chrissy Teigen Is Having Right Now

Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
08/27/2020

The Best Ice Cream for Cravings, American Pregnancy Association Says

Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
02/25/2020

This New Jersey Sandwich Shop Replaces Bread With Giant Pickles

Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
08/13/2019

Pickle Ice Pops Are Your New Favorite Summer Treat

Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
06/12/2019

Pregnant Mom Friends Throw Wild Pizza Party in Hilarious Maternity Shoot

Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
10/29/2018

This Pizza Covered in Pickles Is Every Pregnant Woman's Dream

Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
09/24/2018

Pickle-Flavored Ice Cream Is the Stuff of Pregnancy Craving Dreams

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
05/10/2018

Every Mom Can Relate to This Hilarious Cravings-Inspired Photo Shoot

Sarah Hooper
Associate Social Editor
Published
05/03/2018

Joanna Gaines Just Out-Weirded Your Pregnancy Cravings

Sarah Hooper
Associate Social Editor
Published
02/09/2018

Pica During Pregnancy

Nicole Meadow
MPN, RD, Nutritionist
Article removed.