What Are Pregnancy Cravings?


Macaroni and mayonnaise on rye bread. Vanilla ice cream with crumbled bacon on top. Mac and cheese smothered in BBQ sauce. One of our surrogates even told us she simply had to have pepperoni pizza with a chocolate bar on top.  

Pregnancy cravings can be hilarious, disgusting, and legendary all at the same time. The most common craving reports center around sweet or salty snacks. Old wives’ tales have guessed that these cravings are attached to the baby’s gender. They joke that craving sweets means a little girl and salty snacks point toward a baby boy. Of course, this is just speculation.

Some experts think that the surging hormones in a pregnant woman’s body may play a part in the changing taste buds that lead to cravings.  

Others report links between cravings and low nutrient levels. In this case, women craving citrus may have low beta-carotene levels, cravings for red meat may indicate low protein levels, and a milk craving could signal the need for additional calcium in the diet.

Any studies conducted have only presented preliminary evidence, far from comprehensive or conclusive. The reality is that science just hasn’t figured out pregnancy cravings.

A few specific cravings might be signs for concern. A constant and unquenchable thirst for water can sometimes be a precursor to gestational diabetes. You’ll also want to tell your doctor if you begin craving nonfoods like cigarette butts, laundry powder, or soap as you may have a condition known as Pica. This is often a sign of an iron deficiency that you’ll need to be tested for. Ice chips can also be a sign of some deficiencies and should be mentioned to your doctor.

For the most part cravings are just another part of pregnancy and can be a fun thing for surrogates and intended parents to talk about as their journey progresses.

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. She is the co-owner of Fertility Counseling Services and Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the upcoming book, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. Her two daughters are in college.