Women do crave strange food combinations when pregnant, according to WebMD. No one knows why pregnancy cravings occur, though there are theories that the foods craved may contain a nutrient that the mother lacks.
A craving for strange combinations such as pickles and ice cream may mean that the mother's body needs additional sodium, calcium and fat, according to WebMD. A craving for a fast food hamburger may represent a need for protein. The high hormone levels present during pregnancy can alter both a woman's sense of taste and smell. This means certain foods and odors can be more enticing, and cravings can be overwhelming. The high level of hormones may also attribute to food aversions common in pregnancy, when the smell of a food can cause nausea and vomiting.
Most food cravings are harmless, but when pregnant women crave non-food items, it can be dangerous, states WebMD. When pregnant women have a condition known as pica, they have intense cravings to consume substances including dirt, clay, crayons and laundry starch. This may be related to a deficiency in iron or zinc. Women who suffer from pica are in danger of lead exposure through eating dirt and other non-food items. Lead poisoning can severely harm an unborn child.