Can You Eat Pickles While Pregnant?

As your pregnancy progresses, you may develop an aversion to foods you once loved. Instead, you start eyeing snacks you never used to reach for: chocolate, potato chips, olives, fruit, ice cream, tabasco, and... dirt? Yes, sometimes the things women want to eat when growing a baby inside of them are highly unusual, and there's often a nutritional or hormonal explanation for it, according to Intermountain Healthcare.

If you've supported a pregnant woman throughout her nine months of housing a little one in her womb, you've likely made a mad dash to the grocery store at an odd hour for peanut butter, lemon popsicles, cheese, or pickles — some of the most common pregnancy cravings women experience. Most moms-to-be know the craving needs to be satisfied quickly or the risk of nausea might soon ensue and the peanut butter they were so intensely desiring will suddenly look less than appealing.

Healthline confirms pregnant women's obsession with pickles in particular. But, are they really safe to eat while with child, and why do pregnant women crave them in the first place? Let's take a look.

Pickles are safe to eat during pregnancy in moderation

Pickles are high in vitamin K and vitamin C, both of which are needed in pregnancy (via Healthline). On the other hand, pickles are also super salty. The high sodium content is where pregnant women need to exercise caution when perusing the snack aisle at the grocery store.

The sodium content of an average-sized pickle is 325 milligrams. So, eat one of these and you're already at 16% of the ideal daily sodium intake. Too much salt during pregnancy can cause gestational hypertension, which you definitely want to avoid as it can lead to health emergencies such as heart attacks and strokes down the line, according to the National Institute of Health. While pregnancy does account for a loss of certain vital nutrients — primarily iron, which needs to be upped during pregnancy — sodium doesn't appear to be one of them. Unfortunately, this means salty snack intake does indeed need to be monitored. Sorry, pickle lovers.

If your pregnancy craving just cannot be curbed and you must have a few pickles, try looking for a brand that offers a low-sodium option. And as always, make sure you're eating a nutritious diet overall, as well as getting lots of rest and healthy physical movement during pregnancy. Understanding the reason behind pregnancy cravings may also help you when creating your shopping list.

Why women may be craving pickles during pregnancy

As women wrap up the first trimester of pregnancy, which is often brimming with nausea and morning sickness, they tend to be relieved to enter the "easier" months of the second trimester. Most moms-to-be contest that their energy levels are higher and physical symptoms ease during that wonderful second trimester. This also happens to be when cravings peak (via Healthline). Some theories suggest this could be due to the loss of appetite and lowered caloric intake often experienced in the first trimester — thank you, morning sickness. So, with their appetites now in full swing, moms and their fetuses are ready to eat.

Some studies also suggest that a pregnant woman's sense of taste changes thanks to hormones (via Healthline). So, super salty foods (ahem, pickles) might not taste as salty as they usually do, hence the unmet salt craving.

Ultimately, you can give into your pickle cravings when pregnant, just opt for the low-sodium option and be sure you're eating a balanced, nutritious diet.