Weird Pregnancy Cravings and What They Mean
Weird Pregnancy Cravings and What They Mean
August 18, 2022

Weird Pregnancy Cravings and What They Mean

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Weird Pregnancy Cravings and What They Mean.
Weird Pregnancy Cravings and What They Mean

Food cravings are one of the most often talked about symptoms of pregnancy, and you may have even had your fair share already of people asking “Have you had any weird cravings yet?” There definitely are some weird pregnancy cravings out there, but most don’t just come out of thin air; they may be related to what’s going on with your body.

21 Weirdest Pregnancy Food Cravings

We asked Babylist parents what foods they craved during pregnancy, and here are the weirdest ones. Some were even mentioned multiple times by different people!

Pickle juice…with a side of pickles

Cheetos + sour cream

Dreft laundry detergent (to smell, not to eat)

Maple syrup. Just maple syrup.

Olive juice straight from the jar

Onions. On everything.

Stale triscuits topped with Velveeta cheese and dipped in ranch dressing

Just sliced tomatoes on a plate

Beet juice

Ice cream with trail mix mixed in

Mustard

Anchovies + cucumbers + ranch

Pickles + Boursin cheese wrapped up in a slice of salami

Cheese quesadilla with syrup

Sauerkraut (this parent ate a whole pot of it!)

Cheetos dipped in chicken noodle soup

Mayo on white rye

Pickles with A1 sauce

Pickle ice cream sandwiches

A pickle slice between the cookies and cream of an Oreo, then dipped in milk

Fresh lemon juice + salt. And nothing else.

If you find yourself having strong food cravings during your pregnancy, know that you’re not alone. “Many of my pregnant clients tend to crave sweet foods, such as chocolate and baked goods,” registered dietitian Lyndsay Hall says. “Some of them also start to crave foods that they did not even like pre-pregnancy, such as pickles.” So craving pickles while pregnant isn’t just a cliché! And don’t be alarmed if a food you’ve hated your whole life suddenly becomes the tastiest thing in the world to you.

Some of the cravings above seem particularly gag-worthy to you? “Non-conventional food combinations can be common during pregnancy as well, in addition to food aversions,” Hall says. So no worries if you’re not craving anything at all, or even cringe at the thought of food.

What Pregnancy Cravings Mean

After hearing about all these bizarre food combinations, we had to ask why? And we’re sure you’re asking, too, especially if you’ve experienced some really strange cravings yourself. So we turned to health experts to learn what those cravings might mean.

You may have heard that craving something specific could point to a hole in your nutrition or your baby’s, but that’s not necessarily true. “The link between pregnancy and food cravings is not fully known,” Hall says. “From a research standpoint, there are not a lot of studies to say that these food cravings are necessarily due to nutrient deficiencies, but rather that they may be related more so to the hormonal fluctuations associated with pregnancy.”

And trust us, your hormones will fluctuate throughout your pregnancy. But while some changes in hormones will happen regardless of what you do, other hormones—including those that mess with your appetite—can be affected by poor sleep. “Sleep quality can also impact cravings; if you are not sleeping enough or soundly, this can cause hormonal fluctuations that impact blood sugar levels and result in cravings for sugary or carbohydrate-based foods,” Hall says.

Another potential cause that scientists have pointed to is cultural (or psychosocial) factors. This means that if you hear about other pregnant people experiencing cravings—and really, you hear about them everywhere—you’re likely to think that you’re expected to experience them, too. But just because they may not be caused by physiological needs doesn’t make them any less real!

What Is Pica?

Pregnancy cravings can be weird, but sometimes pregnant people crave things that aren’t even edible. “If you are experiencing non-food cravings, such as cravings for ice or chalk, this can be a sign of a condition called pica,” Hall says. Pica isn’t just experienced by pregnant people, and according to the Cleveland Clinic and the National Eating Disorder Association, it’s actually classified as an eating disorder.

Some of the most common pica-related cravings are ice, dirt, paint chips, laundry soap and hair. But why would someone want to eat things that aren’t food? Hall says that pica “can be caused by iron-deficiency anemia, or inadequate intake of calcium and zinc, the need for all of which are increased during pregnancy.”

And keep in mind that it’s not uncommon for people with pica to crave things that are hazardous, posing a serious health risk to both themselves and their baby. So if you’re experiencing non-food cravings, talk to your doctor to determine if you may be experiencing a nutrient deficiency.


Pregnancy cravings are a totally normal part of growing a baby (one study found that as many as 90% of pregnant people experience cravings, though it’s undefined how many of those cravings are classified as “weird”). In general, they’re harmless as long as you mind your caloric and nutritional intake, so don’t go overboard and eat a whole pot of sauerkraut every single day of your pregnancy, but occasional indulgences are fine, Hall says.

You do need more calories when pregnant, so take this opportunity to enjoy an extra snack guilt-free. And no matter how weird you think your cravings are, try not to worry about it and just eat whatever your brain is telling you sounds good—as long as it’s actually food.

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