When Do Pregnancy Cravings Start and End?

One minute you’re searching for a salty snack and the next you’re thinking about something sweet to add on top. Many women find themselves on the cravings rollercoaster at some point during their pregnancy. 

There are pregnant women who navigate food cravings for months while others experience sporadic hits of “gotta have it”. We’re sharing the scoop on common pregnancy cravings, when they will show up, and what to expect when they do!

What Are Pregnancy Cravings?

A pregnancy craving is a strong urge to eat a specific food when you’re expecting. This is usually seen as a harmless phase of pregnancy. Your enhanced sense of smell and taste causes pregnancy cravings, along with hormonal changes and increased nutritional needs

Your body requires a higher level of certain nutrients as you start to share everything with your growing baby, and it will send you signals to let you know what it’s lacking. If your body is low on calcium you may crave dairy products. In the same way, an iron deficiency may cause a desire to suck on ice chips or a sudden impulse to order a ribeye from a steakhouse.

When Do Pregnancy Cravings Start and When Will They End?

Typically, food cravings start towards the end of the first trimester when morning sicknessor all-day nausea—has subsided. You may experience the peak of pregnancy cravings during your second trimester when it’s common to have an upswing in energy and better appetite than before. 

The compulsion to indulge in certain foods may fade as you come into your third trimester. Most pregnancy food cravings end completely after you give birth. However, breastfeeding after your baby is born comes with its own set of hormonal changes and can bring about new food cravings.

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What Are the Most Common Pregnancy Cravings?

The food combinations you crave during pregnancy are unique to you, but there are a few recurring themes among the most commonly craved foods.

Sweet treats

Even if you’ve never had a big sweet tooth before, you may discover that pregnancy has you reaching for the candy jar. Chocolates, cookies, and doughnuts can satisfy the occasional craving, but try to limit your indulgence to avoid these sweet foods leaving you with a sour stomach. 

Maintain a balance with something salty to accompany your sweets. Chocolate-covered pretzels or peanuts make the perfect sweet and salty combo and are more filling than the candy alone, so you’ll likely eat less.


Carbohydrates are part of a balanced diet, but pregnant women tend to experience cravings for the junk food carbs like pizza and chips. Find ways to incorporate your cravings into your daily meals. Add a slice of classic pepperoni pie from your favorite pizza shop alongside a homemade garden salad with fresh veggies. 

Sometimes a craving for crunchiness is mistaken as a craving for chips. Swap potato chips for cucumber slices to try a healthier option and see if it’s the snappy bite that you’re looking for.

Carnivore cravings

Feeling the need to eat meat is a common food craving. Nutrients from lean proteins like grilled chicken and roasted turkey breast help support you and the growth of your baby with less worry about excessive weight gain. Red meats, like ground beef or pork chops, can help prevent anemia during pregnancy since the type of iron in meat is more easily absorbed by your body. 

It’s not unheard of for women who practiced vegetarianism or veganism pre-pregnancy to start craving meat during pregnancy. If your longing for animal protein is persistent, you may consider making it an exception in your diet for the time being.

Fruits and vegetables

A juicy bowl of watermelon or a handful of crisp carrots make great snacks during pregnancy. The natural sugars in fruits can help you maintain a healthy blood sugar level even if fruit is only thing you can keep down. 

Watermelon, specifically, is gentle on a nauseous stomach while helping you stay hydrated when you’re not feeling well. The fiber and vitamins in vegetables are an all-around benefit to you and your baby while providing a satisfying crunch when eaten raw.


When a craving strikes, fast food is a quick way to satisfy your hankering for something hot and greasy. Maybe a deluxe burger from the drive-thru or a new love for spicy food at a Thai restaurant has you sending your significant other out for an after-dinner dinner. 

It’s best to eat these foods in small portions. The acidity of greasy and spicy foods can flare up heartburn that lasts much longer than the time it took to finish your bowl of red curry noodles.

Cold food and drinks

Ice cream and slushies might be at the top of your cravings list—especially if you’re pregnant in the summer months. Pregnant women become easily overheated, and nothing sounds better than a cup of cherry slush or a giant scoop of mint chocolate chip when you’re out in the sweltering sun. 

Frozen yogurt and frozen juice pops are healthy substitutes if you start to notice that your occasional cold treat has become more of a daily habit.

What Red Flags Should You Watch Out For?

Food cravings are generally seen as a fun part of pregnancy, and it’s okay to give into them every now and then. However, there are times when a pregnancy craving can prevent you from maintaining a healthy diet or involves non-food items that can cause damage to your body.

Most pregnancy cravings are sporadic and change from day to day. If you find that your cravings are lasting for several days and are keeping you from incorporating any other foods into your meals, you should seek help from your doctor or a nutritionist.

Some women experience a craving to eat things that aren’t food. An eating disorder called pica can present during pregnancy usually as a sign of a nutritional deficiency. Low levels of minerals your body needs to function—as well as grow a new life—can trigger pica, leading you to crave things like ice, chalk, dirt, or paint chips. 

Contact a healthcare professional right away if you’re experiencing these types of cravings. They can determine the cause and come up with a treatment plan which may include mineral supplements.

What Should You Do About Pregnancy Cravings?

Cravings during pregnancy can come on strong, but you don’t have to let them consume you. Here are a few options to help you handle pregnancy food cravings:


Food aversions in early pregnancy—thanks to your heightened sense of smell—may have had you grieving the loss of your favorite meals and snacks. Enjoy that your morning sickness has passed and eating has become a pleasant thought again.

Select the small size

When it comes to pregnancy cravings, moderation is key. It’s much easier to control your cravings when you give yourself a little taste instead of denying the urge completely. Ignoring the pull to swing through the drive-thru for an order of french fries may end up steering you to binge on a big bag of potato chips later that night. Instead, let yourself have a small order of fries to get the craving out of your system.

pregnancy cravings

Find a distraction

Food cravings often spike out of boredom. If you’re trying to resist going back to the pantry for another sleeve of chocolate chip cookies, get your mind focused on something else. Start reading a new book, make a baby checklist, or get immersed in a crafty hobby. Going for a walk or taking time to stretch your body can also help move your attention away from food while getting your exercise for the day.

Opt for the alternative

Look for a healthy food substitute that satisfies your craving and creates more variety in your diet. If peanut butter and jelly is your go-to, switch from white bread to a whole-grain option for a more nutrient-dense sandwich. If your mouth is watering at the mere sight of a chocolate bar, break off a chunk of the dark chocolate that has less sugar and more antioxidants.

Overall, pregnancy cravings are an amusing part of the process and can be regulated on your own. Just keep in mind that even seemingly healthy food cravings can become harmful when eaten excessively or exclusively. If you have concerns about proper nutrition during your pregnancy, reach out to your healthcare provider for answers on how to manage the best diet for your personal situation.

For more pregnancy info and advice, check out our blog. Click over to the Nurture& site to find premium baby products made for parents, by parents to help you get ready for the arrival of your little one.

Nurture& was born out of a desire to create thoughtfully designed and premium quality nursery & kids products for modern parents. We’re here so that you can focus on your number one priority - making the beautiful big moments with your family and soaking in all the little ones in between.