Ice cream, chocolate, smoothies, and soft drinks — a lot of the most common pregnancy cravings are for the sweet stuff.
Now, we’re not here to tell you not to treat yourself.
We wouldn’t dream of it.
Not when pregnancy already sucks so much fun out of the world of food and drink.
But when it comes to craving sweets while pregnant, it turns out you can have too much of a good thing.
Especially if that good thing comes loaded with sugar and, well, very little else. 😅
So here’s the reason behind pregnancy cravings, what they might mean, and tips for fighting off cravings if you’d rather not overindulge.
It’s all about balance, mama. ⚖️
In this article 📝
- Is craving sugar during pregnancy normal?
- What does it mean if you crave a lot of sweets while pregnant?
- Is eating too much sweets while pregnant bad?
- Top tips for resisting pregnancy sweet cravings
- Does craving sweet things mean you’re having a girl?
Is craving sugar during pregnancy normal?
Spending too long in the food aisle asking yourself, “Why am I craving sweets while pregnant?”
We’re here to tell you craving sugar during pregnancy is normal.
Just as it’s also normal to crave pickles or even rubber bands and sponges.
You do you, mama—zero judgment here.
Even though they’re really common, we’re still not completely sure what causes pregnancy cravings.
It’s probably a combination of factors, including:
This may not be your first cravings rodeo, and you’re in good company.
It’s an impulse so real we’ve even written an expert-approved guide to craving chocolate on your period.
All in a day’s work at Peanut.
2. Heightened sense of smell
The nose of a bloodhound is a common early pregnancy symptom (read: superpower).
Because you’re more sensitive to certain smells, you might feel a stronger urge towards what you do want to eat.
And a clear indication of what you definitely don’t.
3. More sensitive gag reflex
Blame the pregnancy nausea for this one.
As well as aversions to some smells, you might find yourself grossed out by the texture of the things you used to love.
4. Nutrient deficiency
There’s also the idea that our bodies know what they need during pregnancy and seek it out intentionally.
In other words, it’s not so much our desire for something but our bodies’ need for the nutrients it contains that sets off cravings.
Though a pretty neat explanation for some cravings, the research on this is a tad poor.
At best, nutritional deficiency can only really account for a small fraction of cravings, the rest is probably better explained by social pressures.
Still, it’s a good way to remind us that what we put into our bodies should, first and foremost, be for our nutritional benefit.
What does it mean if you crave a lot of sweets while pregnant?
But what does craving sweets while pregnant mean specifically?
It’s thought that the need for sweets might be to do with:
- A deficiency in vital minerals like zinc and magnesium
- Low blood sugar caused by the extra energy it takes to grow a little human in your uterus
Outside of this, there’s no concrete scientific reason for why you’re reaching for the sweet stuff.
Rather, food cravings can be linked to brain messages, habits, and ease of access.
Research shows that hyper-palatable foods (those easy to consume and digest) tend to light up the reward regions in our brain.
These hyper-palatable foods can also stimulate the release of stress hormones that, in turn, hijack the brain’s emotional and motivational pathways, making you crave even more. 🤤
And, according to another study, the more sugar you consume on a long-term, regular basis, the harder it is to resist it.
So, what does it mean if you crave a lot of sweets during pregnancy, your period, postpartum, or any other day?
Mostly, that you have some habits to break, stress to soothe, and are possibly under a great deal of social influence.
Is eating too much sweets while pregnant bad?
Sugar is not evil, and there’s definitely space for treats as part of a balanced diet.
But excess sugar has been linked to increased gestational weight gain and this can cause problems for both babies and mamas-to-be.
So how do you resist those sugar cravings to avoid eating sweets ALL the time?
Top tips for resisting pregnancy sweet cravings
- Make sure that you’re not deficient in any vitamins or minerals: Ask your doctor about this when you get the results of your pregnancy blood tests, and try to take your prenatal vitamins as regularly as possible, especially in your first trimester.
- Eat slow-release carbs: Think carbohydrates like brown rice, pasta, bread, and unsweetened oatmeal. If you can avoid sugar crashes, you might be able to avoid some of your more urgent cravings for sweets during pregnancy too.
- Increase your healthy snacks: Letting yourself get to peak hangry levels is a recipe for a disaster. Set yourself up for success with healthy pregnancy snacks. Ever hear of nature’s candy? Dried fruit for the win!
- End a meal with naturally sweet foods: Try to honor your pregnancy cravings with yogurt or decadent fruit (like berries and cherries, which are great for stabilizing your blood sugar). Even a little dark chocolate can help satisfy a sugar craving. It might not satiate the senses like a generous helping of ice cream, but a 2019 study shows it could boost your mental health. We’ll take it!
Does craving sweet things mean you’re having a girl?
According to the old wives’ tales, it certainly does!
Little girls are made of sugar and spice and all things nice, so it makes sense that you would want more sugar.
But we’d take this with a pinch of salt because the same rumors say that if you look tired and ill, it’s a girl, and you’re radiant, mama.