Pickles? Ice cream? How cliché! For many pregnant women, however, these and other cravings rich in fat, sugar and salt are reality. Before you're overcome with guilt at the thought of fueling your baby's growth with potato chips, take note: It's OK to indulge a few cravings as long as you've eaten a balanced diet first.
Maybe your craving leaves you wondering whether you're lacking a certain nutrient. The answer is a resounding "maybe." The next time you reach for a bag of pretzels, your body may be craving the additional sodium it needs to balance extra fluids caused by pregnancy. In contrast, your craving may be unrelated: A woman who crunches ice cubes may actually have anemia -- a condition ice cubes do nothing to assuage [source: MedicineNet].
For the most part, cravings are harmless. But if you begin to yearn for non-food items, trouble's afoot. Eating items such as chalk, charcoal, dirt or toothpaste signals a condition known as "pica." Although researchers suspect it may be triggered by your body's lack of a certain vitamin or mineral, this condition can be harmful to you and your baby. Not only can these non-food items be potentially toxic or contain parasites, they may reduce your body's -- and your baby's -- ability to absorb nutrients from food you should eat [source: American Pregnancy Association].
Exercise can take your mind off cravings and help alleviate a number of complaints. Read on to find out how and why to stay mobile.