Pregnancy & Eating Right: How To Control Cravings

Many pregnant women, up to 80 percent, experience cravings for some specific or unusual food that they do not routinely eat. The most common foods for pregnancy eating include chips or pickles, chocolate, citrus fruit, and ice cream.

What do Food Cravings Mean?

Food cravings during pregnancy usually mean nothing more than the desire for comfort food. However, cravings can also signal nutritional deficiencies such as iron, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, or zinc.

Increased appetite can also signal gestational diabetes. Sometimes pregnant women crave non-edible substances such as chalk or dirt. This condition is called pica and should always be brought to the attention of an obstetrician.

Controlling Pregnancy Cravings

There are measures that you can take to control the cravings that are experienced during pregnancy. Follow the tips below to manage your pregnancy weight gain:

  • Make sure that you take a daily prenatal vitamin to prevent deficiencies
  • Eating small frequent meal will prevent drops in blood sugar and help control your cravings.
  • Do not skip breakfast
  • Eat from a wide variety of foods to get the maximum amount of nutrients for your body
  • Try substituting low nutritional value foods with more nutritious choices.  Choose fruits instead of sweets.
  • If the urge for that special food is hard to control, go ahead and have a small portion. Sometimes that will be enough to satisfy the craving. It may be helpful to have a salad first to fill your stomach so that you will not overeat.
  • If you crave ice cream, try substituting low-fat frozen yogurt or fruit sorbet instead.

It is okay to occasionally give in to your desires and indulge in your cravings…just do so in moderation!


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