From sauerkraut and orange juice to toasted cheese and Coke floats, pregnancy cravings can be weird and unexpected – and often have our partners racing to the garage in the middle of the night to satisfy them.
You may have heard that if you crave sweet things, you’re having a girl, while salty means it’s a boy. While there’s no scientific evidence verifying that your cravings indicate a particular gender, it’s fun to hear about the sudden food urges or combinations that pregnant moms experience.
We turned to social media to explore this myth, and share some of their strange cravings with you.
For Malaika Dogar, the cravings differed for each pregnancy. “With my daughter, I wanted sour and salty food all the time, but with my current pregnancy (gender not yet known) I want beef burgers all the time! Add to this my strange craving for marrow bones and knuckle meat from stews – strange because I never liked meat, especially not red meat.”
Tamryn Sherriffs says: “I knew I was pregnant when I wanted to eat lemons.”
Kerry van Tonder says: “I couldn’t get enough orange juice for the first few weeks of my first pregnancy (with a boy), but this time around (haven’t yet found out gender) I crave sauerkraut and ice water.”
“There were weeks where I’d crave nostalgic food from my childhood such as Coke floats, chicken-mayo sandwiches and liquorice drops”
Elayne Olver’s pregnancies also had a citrus twist. “With my first one I ate seven kilograms of oranges a week, but this time around my cravings change constantly, from melted cheese to a popular sparkling lemon soda.”
Almost 12 weeks along, Hughnique Cawood Eloff says: “I can’t get enough of tomato juice mixed with water and lemon juice as it works wonders for my nausea. I have also lost my usual appetite for meat products.”
Johanlie de Bruin also wanted cheese – every day. “There were also weeks where I’d crave nostalgic food from my childhood such as Coke floats, chicken-mayo sandwiches and liquorice drops.”
“During my first pregnancy I ate plenty of popcorn and grilled cheese sandwiches and with my second, it’s all about naartjies,” says Lana Petersen.
Ayesha Francis Agherdien says: “With my first two pregnancies I didn’t crave anything in particular, but with the following four I suffered from severe morning sickness in my first trimester and craved oranges and grapefruit. I also felt that the sour citrus taste eased my nausea. With this pregnancy (I’m 11 weeks along), I feel nauseous and bloated most of the day and nothing really appeals to me, except for water.”
At eight weeks pregnant with her son, Charlene Roux craved Golden Delicious apples. “At five months it was fish and chips with lots of vinegar; at six months it was mielie pap (which I would never normally eat) and at eight months it was melkkos (a warm milky, buttery comfort food). While my tastes changed, one thing remained constant – my need for cinnamon on or in everything!”
Jolene Lubbe says, “My craving for chicken started the night before I discovered I was pregnant with my first son. With my daughter, all I wanted was chocolate (not sweets, just chocolate). I am now 35 weeks pregnant with my second son and peaches top my list of cravings.”
Stacey Meyer says, “All I wanted throughout my entire pregnancy was crumbed chicken, Fanta and soft-serve ice cream from Woolies.”
Casey Jones Lesch Bruyns says: “With my second pregnancy (a boy), I craved salted peanuts on vanilla ice cream, with extra salt and then chocolates later on. With my third pregnancy (also a boy, which I miscarried in the second trimester), I couldn’t get enough of olives – salad with salt, vinegar and olives.”
Kirsten Paige Steyn says: “I craved anything dairy – milk, ice cream, milkshake and yoghurt – but I can’t eat it now. My baby boy is exclusively breastfed and gets cramps when I have dairy.”
“I didn’t have any cravings with my first two pregnancies (both girls),” says Ibtiehaaj Shabodien. “However, I made the most of avo milkshakes during my third one (strangely, my son doesn’t eat avo). With my last pregnancy (also a boy), it was coffee.”
Joelene Nell never had a sweet tooth until her pregnancy. “I then suddenly started craving (and eating) any type of biscuits (especially Eet-Sum-Mors) and chocolate. My baby is now six months old and my taste for sweet things is here to stay.”
Megan Sandler says: “I couldn’t get enough steak during my pregnancies with both my daughters, but I was still advised by my doctor to load up on leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and kale, which help the body to make more red blood cells, and by the time I gave birth my iron levels were normal.”
When is it more than just a craving?
“The only craving I had in common throughout my three pregnancies (all girls) was ice, which I discovered is a sign of an iron deficiency,” says Letitia du Preez.
Kim Johnson-Williams says, “I ate boxes and boxes of chalk with both my son and daughter!”
Doula Estuné Maritz explains that cravings for gravel, wall, rocks, pavement, chalk or baby powder are more common than you might think and are definite signs that you may be low in iron. She advises that you have these levels checked by your doctor, who might recommend supplements.