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When do pregnancy cravings actually start? The answer may be surprising

Learn more about why you yearn for those crazy food combinations

Pregnant woman cooking with fruits and vegetables.
Lordn / Shutterstock

What do little kids and pregnant women have in common? Some peculiar taste buds. Kids are an enigma when it comes to what they will (or won’t) eat, but why do pregnant people crave the strangest things? It’s either a dish that looks like something Buddy the Elf created, or it’s foods they have never eaten before they were pregnant. So, when do pregnancy cravings start? If you haven’t hit the crazy food-gorging stage yet, here’s what you should know.

The pregnancy craving breakdown

Pregnant woman making eggs.
BhFoton / Shutterstock

We all have food cravings. We want something salty on certain days, and for others, we want a little sweet treat. But it seems like pregnant women want both, at the same time, mixed together, and then covered in chocolate. What’s that about? When do these pregnancy cravings start, and what does that look like?

Sorry to say there isn’t an exact answer to the craving mystery question, but there are a few logical guesses other than the baby wants what the baby wants.

Your body is trying to control itself

Trying to get through morning sickness is a part-time job, but finding foods that don’t make you nauseous takes skill. A craving while pregnant could be your body telling you what foods won’t make you feel sick.

Your body is filling in the gaps

Your body could want specific foods — or a combination of foods — because it knows what nutrients it needs to grow the baby. Your body notices what it’s lacking and wants foods that will get it the missing puzzle pieces.

A type of craving doesn’t relate to the baby’s gender

No, craving salty foods doesn’t mean you’re having a boy, and wanting sweets doesn’t mean you’re having a girl. What you want to dip in cheese or chocolate means nothing when it comes to the gender of the baby.

When pregnancy cravings start

A pregnant woman sitting down eating a bowl of food.
Arturs Budkevics / Shutterstock

It could be morning sickness that tips you off to the fact you might be pregnant, but it also could be wanting to eat a jar of pickles in the middle of the night or have chicken wings for breakfast.

Pregnancy cravings could start around the fifth week but will pop up anytime in the first trimester. Cravings are the worst — or the best, if you ask a pregnant person — in the second trimester. The hormones are raging by then, with the body doing all it can to balance things out, and that might mean chicken nuggets with a milkshake for lunch every day for weeks.

By the third trimester, things should calm down. Not all cravings magically disappear by a specific month or week. Your first meal post-delivery could be a giant mix of all the foods you craved while pregnant. But then the next week all cravings are gone, and the next thing you know, it’s been years since you’ve had Chinese take-out for breakfast.

Other pregnancy craving tips

A pregnant woman holding her belly and a glass of water.
Cottonbro Studio / Pexels

Before those pregnancy food creations start to form, there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure you eat whatever you want while keeping it under control. You might be pregnant for nine months, but your body will be yours for years after, so it’s best to keep it as healthy as possible.

Keep an eye on your diet

Just because your body wants all things salty doesn’t mean you should only eat chips while pregnant. Try to keep your diet similar to eating any other food in moderation. Keep it clean and healthy for the majority of the time, so when the urge to have ice cream with a side of tacos hits, you are still getting the nutrients you and the baby need.

You might stop eating your normal go-to foods

In addition to pregnancy cravings, you may have food aversions while growing a human. If you used to eat bacon every morning for breakfast but now find you can’t stand it, that’s OK. Your body is trying to curb morning sickness and protect you and the baby against foods it thinks might be harmful. Your normal diet should return to its regularly scheduled program after you have the baby.

Cravings to watch out for

Just because you have an incredible urge to eat an entire sushi board doesn’t mean you can. Unfortunately, there are some foods that, no matter how badly you want them, you can’t eat them. You can indulge in items like raw fish, deli meat, and soft cheeses, as well as any alcohol, after birth.

When to talk to a doctor

If you crave weird things, we mean weird, like soap, dirt, or anything that isn’t edible, call your doctor. It’s rare, but pregnant women could develop pica, which is a condition that indicates you have low iron or overall are not getting proper nutrition.

Whether you want spicy, salty, sweet, sour, or fast food when you’ve never wanted it before, the pregnancy cravings will hit you at some point. It doesn’t have to be as dramatic as dipping pickles in a milkshake. It could be a food from your childhood or a type of food you rarely get that your body is telling you it wants for fuel to create this little human. Just know those pregnancy cravings will start as early as the second month, so keep that fridge stocked with one of everything.

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Dannielle Beardsley
Dannielle has written for various websites, online magazines, and blogs. She loves everything celebrity and her favorite…
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