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What is the reason for some pregnant women craving non-food items?

Some common behaviors like craving non-food items during pregnancy might be caused by pica, which is characterized by a strong craving for specific items in greater quantities than what is considered



Pregnancy cravings are very common. When you tell people you’re expecting, you’ll probably get lots of questions about your cravings. Fruit, ice cream and sweets, pickles, and dairy are some of the most commonly craved foods during pregnancy, reports On Health. There is no hard evidence that points to pregnancy as the cause of cravings, but it is widely believed that hormonal shifts and cultural expectations play a role.

While it’s common to picture pregnant women hunched over a tub of ice cream, there are other aspects of pregnancy cravings that aren’t typically shown on screen. Unusual cravings, such as for ice or soap, may be a sign of pica, which is actually quite common during pregnancy.

Having Pica during Pregnancy is Possible if You Crave Non-Food Items

If you’re pregnant and having cravings for things that aren’t food, you may be suffering from pica, an eating disorder. Though it can affect anyone, pregnancy significantly increases the risk. Ice, paper, dirt, clay, glue, uncooked grains, pebbles, and baby powder are just some of the strange things that people with pica may develop sudden, unusual cravings for. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that this is all they eat; in fact, it’s more likely that your normal diet will continue intact, with the addition of whatever strange foods you find yourself craving.

Pica is extremely common but is rarely discussed in the media. There is a high prevalence of pica during pregnancy (27-68%, per Baby Center). So, why do pregnant women have such unusual food cravings? Many people think it happens when the body doesn’t get enough of certain nutrients, especially vitamins and minerals. An iron deficiency has also been associated with it. In both cases, the body will try to obtain these nutrients any way it can, including inorganic sources. Despite its prevalence, however, is pica really a cause for concern during pregnancy?

In the event that you receive a Pica diagnosis while pregnant, what you can expect

There’s no need to freak out if, while pregnant, you develop an urge for something that isn’t food. Many of these non-food items may contain toxic ingredients and are difficult for the body to absorb, causing concern for you and your unborn child, says the American Pregnancy Association. However, if you let your doctor know about your peculiar eating habits (even a craving for ice, according to Healthline, is cause for concern), they should be able to help you get your cravings under control.

If your doctor suspects a vitamin or nutrient deficiency, he or she may order blood tests. There is currently no diagnostic test for pica, so if your doctor suspects you might have it, she may recommend changing your prenatal vitamins and focusing on eating healthier foods. They might suggest seeing a nutritionist to help you fix your diet if the issue persists. Most cases of pica during pregnancy, fortunately, go away on their own after the baby is born.

Proceed to the next reading: Traditional Beliefs Regarding Women’s Bodies