Why Do Some People Crave Milk When Pregnant?

As children, a lot of us were regularly given milk to drink, yet as we grow up, the urge to drink milk usually gets replaced with coffee or tea. The calories and fat found in whole milk aren't always welcomed, and the hormones added to milk are never desired. According to Scientific American, all milk from animals contains hormones, so you do get extra estrogen, progesterone, and other hormones when you drink it.

When adding milk or cream to coffee, choosing almond or oat milk are nutritious options. Yet sometimes we just crave good old-fashioned milk. Pregnancy is one time when you might have a hankering for the nostalgic drink.

There are many reasons why cravings appear during pregnancy (via Healthline). The influx of hormones and our changing nutritional needs are usually responsible for our cravings as well as the appeal of being able to put a hold on any self-imposed food restrictions. After all, many pregnant women give themselves the allowance to enjoy whatever they feel like at the moment.

Craving milk may mean your body needs this nutrient

According to nutritionist Janet Pope, milk is one of the most common pregnancy cravings (via Parents). Pope says that some cravings may result from our body's need for a certain nutrient. So if you're dying for citrus fruit, you may be lacking Vitamin C and if you want more milk, you may need more calcium. In addition to the need for calcium, a milk craving may also be a sign that you need more protein and fat in your daily diet (via Pregnancy Food Checker).

Calcium is important for both your health and your baby's development (via WebMD). It helps keep your muscles, bones, and nerves healthy. Furthermore, if you don't get enough during pregnancy, your baby will take whatever calcium is available in your body and leave you lacking it. Pregnant women should aim for 1,000 mg of calcium daily.

Emotional reasons for craving milk

There may be another reason why we crave milk during pregnancy that isn't purely physical. Milk brings many of us back to the comforting days of childhood (via Healthline). It may be a drink that we had when we felt comforted and loved, and we want to recreate that feeling. At a time when so much change is taking place, enjoying a glass of milk gives us warm and fuzzy feelings. In addition, dairy also calms us because it contains tryptophan, which helps release the neurotransmitters serotonin that boosts mood and sleep (via Psychology Today).

On the flip side, dairy cravings extend beyond just milk. Ice cream is one of the most widely craved foods during pregnancy (via Lamaze). Like milk, it gives us happy and nostalgic feelings, but it also tastes so good. In the summer, it helps us cool down and indulge a bit.  When we have already cut out much-loved staples of our diet like caffeine and alcohol, a nice bowl of nice cream or an ice cream cone is a tasty way to treat ourselves and get some added calcium at the same time.