Pickles and ice cream are the infamous pairing that pop into your mind when you think about pregnancy cravings, but not all women crave the same things. My best friend constantly craved eggs on blueberry waffles, which was weird to me, but actually pretty good. There are so many stories of moms craving a variety of strange foods during pregnancy, so what does it mean if you have really weird cravings while pregnant?
If you are craving things that are really weird, and not edible foods at all, then you might be dealing with pica. According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), pica is when a pregnant mom craves things that have no nutritional value, like dirt, chalk, charcoal, or soap. Pica is not very common, explained the APA, and the underlying cause is unknown, but consuming any non-food substances can be very harmful to you and your baby. If you are pregnant and craving things that are not food items, talk to your doctor to get a proper understanding and evaluation of your cravings.
When it comes to specific or weird foods, science has not been able to definitely find a precise correlation between cravings and pregnancy. Some experts believe that food cravings can indicate a mother's nutritional needs, explained Baby Center. They believe, for example, that if a mom craves milk or dairy, it might mean her body needs calcium. Baby Center further noted, however, that some experts see no links at all because the evidence is only anecdotal, and there is no scientific explanation or data that supports why a mom would have specific food cravings during pregnancy.
Romper reached out to Dr. Seth Plancher, OB-GYN at Garden City OB-GYN in New York, who says that food cravings are a common part of pregnancy, but he doesn't think they are related to the nutrition your body needs. Instead, he believes that the cravings are likely due to hormonal changes and not an indicator of a lack of nutrients.
As long as your cravings are weird edible items, it's probably OK to give in to them. If you're craving things like toothpaste or sand, you might have pica, and you should never eat anything that's not food. Luckily, pregnancy will not last forever, and the weird cravings will subside. Until then, if you feel like eating anchovies dipped in ice cream, go ahead and enjoy. (Maybe pick up some extra Tums, too.)