Ice cream, brownie mix straight from the bowl or pickles; if you are pregnant, these things may seem like heaven on a plate, and the reason is pregnancy cravings or this unquenchable longing for eclectic combinations of foods that you may never otherwise want to eat.

It is not really determined what causes these mysterious food fantasies, though there is a theory that the craving is the body’s way of asking for its needs, as it might represent a nutrient which the mother may be lacking. When the overwhelming desire for processed cheese or pickles hits, it could be the body asking for more sodium.

The burning for double chocolate double latte ice cream may be a signal of your need for more fat or calcium, and that aching for a plate of fries or a Big Mac may be your need for more sodium, potassium and protein. You can say the body does not actually need the food you are craving, but it needs something in that food.

Moreover, studies show that the high hormone levels during pregnancy can alter the woman’s sense of smell and taste, so certain odors and foods do not only become more enticing but in some cases more offensive.

While cravings during pregnancy can certainly seem odd, in most cases they do not cause any threat to the baby or the mother. However, this can change significantly with nonfood cravings – a condition known as “pica” which leads to an overwhelming desire to consume substances, some of which can be harmful to the mother and the baby.

During pregnancy, a woman can crave things like laundry starch, crayons, ice scraped from the freezer, dirt and clay. As bizarre as it seems, pica is not well understood, and it can be very dangerous with the consumption of lead coming from eating dirt or clay. Research has indicated an increased risk of learning disabilities in infant exposure to lead before birth.


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