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Food Cravings

Question

What causes certain intense food cravings during pregnancy? I could eat Mexican food all day, every day!

Answer

Cravings are caused by elevated hormone levels in your body. There is no evidence that cravings are your body's way (or the fetus's way) of telling you what it needs. You needn't feel compelled to indulge in it. However, most women report at least one food craving throughout the pregnancy. This is where the "pickles and ice cream" joke comes from. The only time a craving is a problem is when it's for a nonfood item such as laundry starch, clay, or chalk. Craving nonfood items is known as pica, and it should be reported to your doctor or midwife. Cravings for ice chips or ice has been linked to iron-deficiency anemia and should also be reported.

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.