food; cravings; crave; pica;
Around eight out of 10 pregnant women experience cravings for at least one particular food. Some crave sweet foods while others want more salty snacks, spicy or fatty foods or foods that they would not normally eat. Sometimes the craving may be for much more meat than usual - even for vegetarians.
The cravings are real but it is not clear why they happen. According to some theories, a craving indicates a deficiency in the body such as iron deficiency or the need to have more protein. There is no evidence that there is any link between cravings and nutrient deficiency.
Between 50 and 80 per cent of pregnant women also find that they want to avoid some foods they previously enjoyed. They may find that the smell of some foods becomes unbearable.
If you want particular foods it is usually OK to eat some of that food, but you need to continue to eat a balanced diet despite cravings.
Pregnancy, birth and baby - Australian Government website
Eating things that are not food
Some women find that they really want to eat things that are not food - but this might be harmful for their own health and that of their baby. This is called pica - there is more about pica in the topic on the Parenting and child health part of our website 'Eating things that are not food'.
The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see your doctor or midwife.