The Consequences of Ignoring Pregnancy Cravings

The Consequences of Ignoring Pregnancy Cravings

Pregnancy cravings are normal and healthy, but many women don’t think about the consequences of ignoring these cravings during pregnancy, especially if they’re milder and only last for the first trimester or two.

Unfortunately, not giving in to these seemingly harmless cravings can have disastrous effects on you and your growing baby. A study published in Nutrition Journal found that pregnant women who refused to eat their favorite foods were more likely to suffer from iron deficiency anemia than those who indulged in their pregnancy cravings.


Can’t think straight

While you’re pregnant, your hormones are more imbalanced than at any other time in your life. Your estrogen is high from when you get pregnant to delivery and even during breastfeeding. This imbalance can cause headaches and migraines. Food cravings (and intense food aversions) are also common. The best way to combat these symptoms?

Talk to your doctor about safe, effective ways to relieve headaches and migraines. She may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol), but you should always take these under her supervision because there’s a chance that they could hurt your baby. A safer option is Ibuprofen, which is available over-the-counter in most drug stores.


Emotional stress

During pregnancy, your body goes through massive hormonal changes. When you ignore these cravings and are constantly denying yourself food, stress hormones will spike. This can lead to depression, anxiety, and an increase in mood swings. If you’re ignoring these cravings during pregnancy, it may be time to reevaluate what is going on in your life so that you can come up with a better coping mechanism for managing your stress levels. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health during pregnancy.


Risky behaviors

Ignoring your cravings won’t get you in trouble immediately, but it could over time. Researchers from The Ohio State University have found that even one single high-risk behavior can lead to an increased incidence of pregnancy complications, such as preterm birth. According to researchers at Yale University, if a woman smokes during her pregnancy, she is more likely to deliver a baby with low birth weight. 

According to research published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, if a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, there is a higher risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. Any risk factor—smoking, drinking alcohol, or using drugs—can increase your chances of having a premature delivery or an underweight baby. So when it comes to those oh-so-delicious cravings—whether they be salty or sweet—listen up! It may just save your child’s life.


Increased discomfort

What happens when we ignore our cravings? Let’s say you’re craving chocolate. Your body thinks it needs a boost of energy and nutrition, so it sends a signal to your brain that says, "Feed me chocolate!" When you don’t satisfy that craving, your body works hard to get what it wants. It may send more signals, causing more discomfort. If you keep ignoring those signals, your body will eventually take action in other ways. 

For example, if you keep refusing food (like chocolate), your blood sugar could drop below normal levels, making you feel dizzy or lightheaded. You might start to feel irritable or moody because low blood sugar can cause emotional changes as well as physical ones. If you’re pregnant and continue to deny yourself food cravings, these symptoms could develop into nausea or vomiting.


Unhealthy weight gain

One of the most common pregnancy side effects is weight gain, which can be a cause for concern if you’re not planning on conceiving or if you’re trying to lose weight. It’s not uncommon for women to experience an average total weight gain during pregnancy of anywhere from 25–40 pounds.

This can be a problem if you’re not eating healthily or exercising regularly. It may also lead to gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, two pregnancy complications that could potentially harm both you and your child.


Miscarriage risk

When you’re pregnant, your body and your baby go through major changes, and a healthy diet plays an important role in sustaining both. Without proper nutrition, your baby may not get enough energy to develop properly and could face negative effects such as stunted growth or brain development. You must eat nutrient-rich foods while you’re pregnant to protect both yourself and your unborn child.

And yet, studies show that about half of all pregnant women don’t eat a healthy diet during pregnancy. Many ignore their food cravings, which could lead to higher rates of miscarriage. If you’re expecting and your baby is healthy so far, it’s likely because you haven’t ignored your cravings.



Pregnancy cravings are normal and healthy. Ignoring cravings can have disastrous effects on you and your baby. A study found that pregnant women who refused to eat their favorite foods were more likely to suffer from iron deficiency anemia than those who indulged in their pregnancy cravings. When you're pregnant, your body sends signals to your brain about what foods you're craving. Eating a healthy, nutrient-rich diet is crucial for both yourself and your baby's health.

Alice Dunn

"Without even waiting," the dormouse shook its head impatiently after a minute or two.