New Study Shows Strangest Food Cravings During Pregnancy - Baby Chick
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New Study Shows Strangest Food Cravings During Pregnancy

Your early pregnancy cravings for potato chips and chocolate bars aren’t all that strange, according to a new survey conducted by OnePoll.

Published July 6, 2023

Your early pregnancy cravings for potato chips and chocolate bars aren’t all that strange, according to a new survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Vitamin Angels. Researchers found that 89 percent of pregnant women surveyed had experienced intense food cravings during their pregnancy. Nearly half of those pregnant mamas admitted wanting to eat something unusual during those 40 weeks.2

The New Study Discovered Just How Common Pregnancy Cravings Can Be

There were 2,000 moms questioned for the survey, which took into account the opinions of anyone who had given birth within the last six years. Nine out of 10 moms admitted to experiencing the pregnancy rite of passage.2

Researchers then delved deeper into the mothers’ pregnancy cravings to uncover precisely what these moms were hankering for. Some more traditional cravings made the list. 33 percent of moms said they experienced cravings on the tame side — things like potato chips and bananas. And expectant mamas seemed to break even on whether their cravings skewed salty or sweet.2

A surprising 30 percent of food cravings fell into uncharted territory, with women admitting they suddenly couldn’t stop thinking about foods they usually didn’t like. Another 35 percent admitted to constantly returning to a dish they could only get at a specific place, like their favorite restaurant, which we imagine led to many late-night food runs for them or their partner.2

Young pregnant Asian woman sitting on the sofa against wall paper wall in living room. She is wearing jeans and red top with exposed pregnant belly. She is holding a jar of dill pickels and biting one. Her arms featuring tattoo art. Typical pregnancy cravings.

Some Moms Developed a Taste for the Unusual

We’ve all probably had the occasional craving for something a little outside the norm from time to time. But a large portion of moms said their pregnancy cravings qualified as strange.

At least 42 percent of the moms surveyed admitted wanting an unusual culinary combo. Some examples include peanut butter and marshmallow sandwiches, sardines and ketchup, and pickles with cheese.2

Why Do Pregnant Women Experience Cravings?

Theories as to why this phenomenon exists in pregnancy vary. Some experts argue that cravings are the body’s way of letting you know when you’re deficient in specific nutrients. This may explain the desire to eat something like sardines and ketchup.

When you look into the nutritional breakdown of some of these combos, it makes a lot more sense. According to the National Institutes of Health, sardines are rich in vitamin B12, an essential part of early pregnancy. And ketchup is high in vitamins A and C, making the weird dish a surprising way to meet your daily nutritional needs.1

Other theories suggest these cravings may be a way to help you boost your energy during a time when food, in general, may sound less appealing than usual, thanks to nausea and morning sickness.

The Stranger Cravings May Have Been Short-Lived for Some

Half of the women surveyed said they made healthier choices by the end of their first trimester. 50 percent admitted to upping their intake of more nutritious options after the 12th week of pregnancy.2

“During pregnancy, the daily required intake of several key vitamins and minerals can increase by as much as 50 percent and often cannot be met through diet alone,” Dr. Colleen Delaney, Vitamin Angels’ technical director for US programs, says, according to the New York Post. “It’s recommended to take a prenatal vitamin as early as three months prior to conception in order to ensure optimal maternal health and pregnancy outcomes.” 2

We’re not here to yuck anyone’s yum. (And we’d like to argue that pickles and cheese is a delicious snack, pregnant or not.) But we can’t imagine reaching for some of those combos unless we had a bun in the oven. That said, pregnancy is an intense time in a woman’s life. Your body is doing so much and working overtime to grow that precious baby. It seems like the very least you can do is give it what it wants to fuel the process. Yes, even if that means ketchup and sardines.

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Lauren Wellbank is a freelance writer and mother of three young children. When she's not working she is volunteering or spending time with her kids, dog, and husband in the… Read more

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