Pregnancy Cravings

“Cravings for certain foods are common in pregnancy. In theory, this can indicate a need or deficit in a diet.  Cravings for healthy foods can be indulged, but cravings for non-food substances (Pica), such as clay or laundry starch can be harmful, and should be reported to your care provider

If you crave things like ice cream you can indulge yourself, to a point.  Ice cream has calcium and protein in it, but it also has a great deal of sugar.  Indulging on occasion is not a problem.  Eating it every day could put you at risk for gestational diabetes. Cravings for fresh fruit can indicate a need for vitamin C, and should be indulged.

Women commonly crave salty foods during pregnancy. This isn’t necessarily a problem as salt is a necessary element for pregnancy; It helps to support a woman’s expanding blood volume.  Salting a plain food is appropriate, but adding salt to foods that are already salty could be problematic, so use your common sense.  Craving salt could indicate a deficit, or simply a diet high in salt.  So make sure you are choosing whole foods, rather than processed ones.  Then adding things that are healthy snacks, like salted nuts, can give you a high quality food that solves your craving.

If you are craving a substance that is not a food, it can indicate a severe nutrient deficit in your diet, and could be harmful.  Most common non-food cravings are clay, laundry starch, ice cubes, and magic markers.  This condition is called Pica, and should be reported to your care provider so you can be tested.”


(Haas, AV; Healthy Babies! Healthy Moms! A Practical Guide to Preventing Problems during Pregnancy, Labor, and Birth , 2014)