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Publication #FAR8028

Healthy Solutions to Pregnancy Cravings1

Rachel Clark and R. Elaine Turner2

Figure 1. 
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Growing up, I always heard that pregnant women craved pickles and ice cream. Pregnancy cravings have become legendary and are completely normal. Almost two-thirds of women experience cravings to some degree, although there is no widely accepted explanation.

Cravings are not a problem unless they cause dietary imbalances. However, a very small percentage of women experience pica, a condition in which they crave non-food items, like dirt or laundry starch. These should obviously never be consumed, and consulting a doctor is recommended if a woman does experience such desires. There is currently no identified cause; however, according to research reported in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, pica may be connected to iron deficiency (American Pregnancy Association 2007).

While not dangerous, food cravings can be annoying. Here are a few techniques that are often helpful in reducing cravings. Eating a complete breakfast can help alleviate midday cravings. Having small, healthy snacks throughout the day, such as fruits, yogurt, and whole-grain crackers, and eating only when you are physically hungry can also help. Drink at least 64 fluid ounces of water a day. Sweets may be hard to cut out completely, so instead eat smaller portions.

And remember to draw on support from family and friends as you strive to keep your diet as healthy as possible for you and your baby.

Listening, learning, and living together: it's the science of life. "Family Album" is a co-production of University of Florida IFAS Extension, the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and of WUFT-FM. If you'd like to learn more, please visit our website at http://www.familyalbumradio.org.

To listen to the radio broadcast:

http://www.radiosource.net/radio_stories/cravings.mp3

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References

American Pregnancy Association. (2007). Pregnancy and pica: Non-food cravings. Retrieved May 7, 2007, from http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/unusualcravingspica.html.

Cook, K. (2004, August 25.) Crazy cravings. http://regulus.azstarnet.com/dailystar/printDS/34877.php [October 2012] .

eHow. (n.d.). How to avoid sweet cravings during pregnancy. Retrieved May 7, 2007, from http://www.ehow.com/how_9087_avoid-sweet-cravings.html.

MedicineNet. (n.d.). Are food cravings normal during pregnancy? Retrieved May 7, 2007, from http://www.medicinenet.com/pregnancy_your_guide_to_eating_right/page5.htm#tocg.

Footnotes

1.

This document is FAR8028, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Broadcast as program 181 and published February 2008. Revised May 2008. Reviewed March 2012. In the interest of time and/or clarity, the broadcast version of this script may have been modified. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Rachel Clark, undergraduate student, and R. Elaine Turner, associate dean, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.