17 Foods Pregnant Women Crave & Why We Crave It

There are cravings — and then there are pregnancy cravings.

Yes, it sometimes seems like pregnancy cravings are dramatized and blown out of proportion for entertainment value in movies and commercials, but the reality is these cravings are no joke — and they really hit 50 to 90 percent of pregnant women. That deep, insatiable hunger is very real, and there are biological reasons it hits. So, the next time you wake up with a burning desire for a Big Mac or a chocolate Frosty, give in. Because… science.

Here are some explanations for those insane hankerings for random things like raw meat and lemons.

More: Pregnant in 2018? Here’s What You Need to Know

1. Ice

Pregnant women love to chew on ice. Seems strange since it’s not really a food and doesn’t seem in any way satisfying to those of us not with child, but for some reason pregnant women just can’t get enough. Those with anemia are more likely to be seen chewing on ice since it can relieve inflammation of the mouth and tongue (a common symptom of anemia).

2. Chocolate

Chocolate — or any sweet, for that matter — is something pregnant women can’t get enough of. According to a 2014 study published in Frontiers in Psychology, women likely crave chocolate because it’s considered “forbidden” — the more off-limits a food is, the more we’ll want it.

Also, an old wives’ tale states that if you crave sweets, it means you’re carrying a girl.

Tip: If you’re worried about indulging too much, satisfy your chocolate craving by drizzling low-fat chocolate syrup onto fresh fruit.

3. Spicy foods

Spicy foods, such as curry or hot red peppers, are yet another common craving among pregnant women. One reason women may crave spicy foods is because hot foods make the body sweat, which cools off the body. If you’re currently expecting, then you know it’s almost impossible to stay cool. Try adding some spice to your next meal to see if it helps cool you down.

However, according to licensed acupuncturist Kristen N. Burris in Romper, “According to traditional Chinese medicine wisdom and proven theories from thousands of years and billions of women, pregnant women crave spicy foods when their immune system is weakened.”

More: What to Deduct From Your Taxes When You’re Pregnant

4. Pickles

Women who crave pickles could be low in sodium, but there’s no real proof of this. Some like the crunch, some like the vinegar, and some like the refreshing taste. Whatever it is, pickle cravings are nothing to be too concerned about. They’re low in calories, easy to get and inexpensive.

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