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Pregnancy Cravings: 7 Weird and Surprising Foods

Pregnancy Cravings: 7 Weird and Surprising Foods

You’re a month pregnant now and strangely, all you can think about is eating ice and pickles. As weird as it may sound, you’re not alone. Cravings for food is not unusual among pregnant women, with more than 50% of expectant mothers thinking about eating strange food and other weird pregnancy cravings combination. Here are some of the most surprising.

When Do Cravings Start?

Food cravings usually start during the first trimester of pregnancy, which is believed to be attributed to the sudden wave of hormones entering your bloodstream. Some believe that cravings can actually begin at least a week after conceiving so you can treat this as an early sign of being pregnant.

By the time you enter the second trimester, these food cravings tend to disappear on their own, but there are still some that persist. You can consider this as comfort food rather than food cravings.

A Guide To The First Trimester Of Pregnancy

Why Do Pregnant Women Have Cravings?

Current studies have not provided a scientific explanation as to why pregnant women have weird pregnancy cravings. However, it is believed that hormonal changes play a huge part. It usually has nothing to do with the nutritional necessities attached to pregnancy, but simply because you feel the urge to taste or eat something out of the ordinary.

Pregnancy Cravings and Hormones

Hormonal changes affect your heightened food cravings, even weird pregnancy cravings . These strange food cravings usually begin during the first trimester and end before the fourth month.

When a woman is pregnant, the body goes through a huge transformation to accommodate the growth of the baby. In the process, the body also gets strange wirings like heightened sense of smell. Yes, what used to smell good to you may now send you vomiting to the nearest toilet.

Here are 7 of the strangest cravings of pregnant women:

1. Ice

Ice is one strange pregnancy craving, though it is quite common, at the same time. Craving to eat ice isn’t unusual for women who are suffering from anemia or iron deficiency syndrome, a common medical issue for pregnant women.

Iron deficiency is common during pregnancy when the body produces more blood to support the developing baby, yet unable to produce the necessary red blood cells to keep up. One symptom of iron deficiency or anemia is inflammation of the mouth and many women feel relief when chewing ice.

Some women with anemia also have weird pregnancy cravings like eating cigarette ash, paste, and toothpicks. This is known as pica, the ingestion of nonfood items during pregnancy.

2. Ice Cream

Dairy products like cheese and ice cream are also at the top of the list of strange food cravings during pregnancy. When your body craves for ice cream or other dairy items, for that matter, it may be a telltale sign that your body lacks calcium.

Calcium is a very important nutrient when you’re pregnant, since both you and your baby will be needing it. To make sure that you get enough calcium all throughout your pregnancy, drink milk and eat food that is calcium-enriched. Some women cannot stand the smell of cheese, so they turn to ice cream instead.

However, you should also keep tabs on the calorie content. If you continue to crave for ice cream, try looking for healthier options like low-fat yogurt or sorbet instead.

3. Dirt

Nothing is as strange as craving dirt. But there are actually many women who claim to have craved dirt and even paint and paper.

This weird craving to eat something that isn’t food is called pica. Though there is no scientific explanation for this, many believe that it could be attributed to lack of iron or zinc.

What You Can’t Eat When You’re Pregnant

4. Flour and carbs

Pregnancy is an exciting experience, but it can also be stressful at some point. With this being considered, it is absolutely acceptable for expectant mothers to turn to their ultimate comfort foods like cookies, cake, and pasta. Some also believe that when you eat carbs, the feeling of nausea goes away.

When it comes to weird pregnancy cravings, there are pregnant women who turn to eating raw flour or corn starch. While this is primarily unhealthy, many have shared the inability to fight the urge to take a mouthful from time to time. Talk to your doctor as soon as possible when these strange cravings do not go away.

5. Red meat

There are a lot of pregnant women who find themselves craving a carnivorous meal – even vegetarians. Yes, the urge can be pretty unnerving if you are following a plant-based diet. So if you can’t eat meat or fish, you can try alternatives like nuts, wholegrain bread, or green leafy vegetables.

Experiencing weird pregnancy cravings that include red meat may be your body’s way of telling you that you need more protein. This nutrient is important in the production of cells for your baby’s development. If you do have to eat meat, choose the leaner parts.

6. Salty or sour food

Nausea and vomiting are early signs of pregnancy, and when you’re having bouts of nausea, eating salty and sour foods can actually provide relief. Eating chips or drinking lemonade, for instance, have calmed the stomachs of many expectant mothers. For a better substitute, try saltine crackers.

7. Sweet and spicy food

With the heightened sense of taste that comes with being pregnant, you might also have a strange aversion to spicy and salty food, or anything that’s highly palatable.

What Herbs Are Safe for Pregnancy?

Key Takeaways

Indulging your weird pregnancy cravings is generally harmless so long as you do it in moderation and without placing your baby’s health in jeopardy. Before you try or eat something new (and strange), always consult your doctor.

Learn more about Nutrition and Diets here.

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Ovulation Calculator

Tracking your period cycle, determines your most fertile days and increases your chance of conceiving or applying for birth control.

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Tracking your period cycle, determines your most fertile days and increases your chance of conceiving or applying for birth control.

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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Pica during pregnancy in low-income women born in Mexico, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1070964/, Accessed April 29, 2020

Pregnancy FAQs, https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/pregnancy/pregnancy-faqs/, Accessed April 29, 2020

Food Aversions and Cravings during Pregnancy on Yasawa Island, Fiji, https://henrich.fas.harvard.edu/files/henrich/files/mckerracher_collard_henrich_2016.pdf, Accessed April 29, 2020

Food cravings during pregnancy, https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/food-cravings-during-pregnancy#:~:text=Food%20cravings%20are%20sudden%20urges,you%20normally%20don’t%20like., Accessed April 29, 2020

Craving and chewing ice: A sign of anemia?, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/iron-deficiency-anemia/expert-answers/chewing-ice/faq-20057982, Accessed April 29, 2020

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Written by Desiree Gabasa Updated Feb 16
Medically reviewed by Mary Rani Cadiz, M.D.