From boiled eggs with horseradish to garlic mushrooms dipped in custard, we take a look at the weirdest pregnancy cravings revealed in a new survey by Pregnacare

What were your weirdest pregnancy cravings? If they included Haribo sweets, boiled eggs with horseradish and garlic mushrooms dipped in custard then you are in good company, as these were some of the strangest foods craved by pregnant women, revealed in a new Pregnacare survey of mums-to-be.

The study of 1,400 mums found 67% had cravings while they were pregnant, with chocolate, fruit and ice lollies the most common.

Cravings; from the weird to the wonderful

More than a third of women surveyed said they craved ice cubes to eat during their pregnancy. Others admitted to having a hankering for dry chocolate powder while one vegetarian even said she suddenly developed a taste for bacon.

Other foods of the weirdest pregnancy cravings reported in the survey included rated carrot mixed with ketchup, cold toast with marmite, cold rice pudding and a banana and ready salted crisp toastie.

Fancy potato salad and spaghetti hoops…together? One mum certainly did!

The top ten most popular pregnancy cravings

According to the survey, the top ten most popular cravings experienced by pregnant women included:

1. Chocolate
2. Fruit
3. Ice lollies
4. Cake
5. Fizzy drinks
6. Ice cream
7. Spicy food
8. Biscuits
9. Desserts
10. Chips

How many of these were on your list during pregnancy?

A craving for the unhealthy

The study also suggests there has been an increase in cravings for less healthy food - including cake, biscuits, fizzy drinks and burgers - when compared with previous generations.

Cake, fizzy drink, ice cream and spicy food are also popular foods craved during pregnancy.

Three in ten women today said they were desperate to tuck into chocolate. They said their mothers had also craved chocolate, but were more likely to have hankered after food such as lean proteins and fish during their pregnancies as well.

But why is this? Expert nutritionist Yvonne Bishop-Weston believes this shift could be due to cravings being influenced by modern diets and the wide availability of processed foods.

According to Yvonne, “What pregnant women crave does seem to be influenced by regional diets and availability of foods as it has been found that women in different areas crave different foods.

“The desire for high sugar and processed junk foods, unfortunately, seems to be increasing.

“In days gone by there was less fast junk food around to lure us in. It wasn’t easy to access and it wasn’t as ordinary and socially acceptable as it can be now.

“We know foods such as burgers and cheese and processed meat-laden pizzas are high in calories and saturated fat but as we now find them in more upmarket places does this make them more generally acceptable?

“Rarely, a true nutritional deficiency can trigger cravings and is thought to be behind the condition pica, where there is an intense craving for non-food items such as soil or clay.

“There may be a link between these cravings and iron deficiency but the items craved are not edible or sources of iron.

“Eating these non-foods can be dangerous for mum and baby.”

Why do pregnant women often crave foods they don’t normally eat?

Have you ever wondered why you crave the things you do during pregnancy? Yvonne Bishop-Weston explains: “Pregnancy is a time of huge change, both physically and psychologically, and it may be that we crave what we ate as children, or foods that make us feel treated and cared for.

“It is thought women may have pregnancy food cravings as it is a time of higher nutrient need. However, the most reported food cravings don’t tend to be for the healthy foods which are needed in pregnancy such a rainbow of differently coloured fruits and vegetables, whole-grains, beans, lentils and seeds.

“The most reported cravings are for low-nutrient foods such as chocolate and ice-cream.”

“Cravings for sweet foods and starchy carbohydrates are usually at the top of the list and in my nutrition clinics pregnant women report the desire for carbs from early pregnancy, and especially when nausea kicks in.

“What drives this isn’t fully understood. It may be that the energy dip associated with early pregnancy triggers the craving for quick fixes which, if indulged, lead to a blood sugar low and the craving for more.

“Many carbs such as bread, pasta and crackers are also quite bland and gentle on the stomach so seem a natural choice when feeling sick.”

Healthy fruit may be the second most craved food but is thought to be popular because it is a sweet-tasting carbohydrate.

According to Pregnacare “Craving unusual foods is part of being pregnant for many women, but most are not harmful.

“The most important thing is making sure you get all the required nutrients while you are expecting a baby. Pregnacare is specially formulated to include the exact levels of vitamin D and folic acid as advised by the UK Department of Health, with carefully balanced levels of many other vitamins and minerals essential throughout pregnancy.”

Pregnancy cravings - what do they mean?

What food did you crave when you were pregnant, and what were your weirdest pregnancy cravings? More information on the Pregnacare range is here, and make sure you also read our post on the top advice given to mums-to-be

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