Pregnancy Cravings

If you want to eat peanut butter at every meal, you’re not alone. Up to 68% of women have cravings during pregnancy.

According to a BabyCenter survey, almost 40% of expectant moms craved sweets, while about one-third preferred salty snacks. About 17% wanted Mexican or other spicy foods. Ten percent (10%) had to have sour foods like citrus fruit or green apples.

You’re Craving What?

Some pregnant women start craving strange foods and combinations. Here are some common and not-so-common cravings are:

  • Brownies with mustard
  • Peanut butter & cheese
  • Nachos with extra jalapenos
  • Gummi bears
  • Horseradish
  • Cheese dipped in ketchup
  • Root beer
  • Pickle chips on chocolate cookies
  • Watermelon
  • Tabasco sauce on everything

You can eat what you crave sometimes. Just make sure they’re not unsafe for you or your baby. Try to eat healthy most of the time.

Food Safety During Pregnancy

Although you need to eat plenty of healthy foods during pregnancy, you also need to avoid food-borne illnesses, such as listeriosis and toxoplasmosis, which can be life-threatening to an unborn baby and may cause birth defects or miscarriage.

Foods you’ll want to steer clear of include:

  • Soft, unpasteurized cheeses (often advertised as “fresh”) such as feta, goat, Brie, Camembert, and blue cheese
  • Unpasteurized milk, juices, and apple cider
  • Raw eggs or foods containing raw eggs, including mousse, tiramisu, raw cookie dough, homemade ice cream, and Caesar dressing (although some store-bought brands of the dressing may not contain raw eggs)
  • Raw or undercooked meats, fish (sushi), or shellfish
  • Processed meats such as hot dogs and deli meats (unless they are reheated until steaming)

Also, although fish and shellfish can be an extremely healthy part of your pregnancy diet (they contain beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and are high in protein and low in saturated fat), you should avoid eating:

  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • King mackerel
  • Tilefish
  • Tuna steak (bigeye or ahi)
  • Marlin
  • Orange roughy

These types of fish may contain high levels of mercury, which can cause damage to the developing brain of a fetus. When you choose seafood, limit the total amount to about 12 ounces per week — that’s about two meals. Also, if you like canned tuna, pay attention to the type in the can. Canned light tuna generally contains smaller fish and can be eaten twice a week. But albacore/white tuna contains larger fish and should only be eaten once per week. Check any local advisories before eating recreationally caught fish.