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Can Those Unusual Cravings Be Due to Pica During Pregnancy?

by | July 3, 2019

If you find yourself constantly craving non-food items, such as dirt, chalk, or burnt matches, chances are you may be suffering from pica. Very aptly taking its terminology from the Latin name for the bird magpie, known for eating nearly everything, pica during pregnancy is the craving for non-food substances. Much like a magpie, pica can cause a woman to find delight in non-nutritious items. Find out more here.

Can Those Unusual Cravings Be Due To PICA During Pregnancy?
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What is Pica During Pregnancy?

According to VeryWell family, pica can affect anyone irrespective of socio-economic status or race. Researchers believe pica may be due to an iron deficiency, and suggest the craving is the body’s attempt to replenish deficient minerals and vitamins. However, this doesn’t apply to everyone hence the definitive cause is unknown.

Disclaimer: None of the suggestions mentioned in the post are meant to replace the advice of a registered medical practitioner. As long as the condition is normal and under control, these general guidelines may help in easing the symptoms. It is strongly recommended to consult a doctor in case the condition doesn’t improve.

What is Pica and its Symptoms?

Pica cravings during pregnancy are not common items you would eat normally, let alone crave. These cravings are actually often found in kids.

Cravings may range from:

  • Charcoal
  • Stones
  • Burnt matches
  • Ice
  • Brick
  • Corn starch
  • Clay
  • Sand
  • Soap
  • Toothpaste
  • Cigarette ashes
  • Plaster
  • Hair
  • Dirt
  • Chalk

Diagnosing Pica

There is no particular diagnostic test for pica. However, since connections to vitamin deficiency can’t be phased out, one may be tested for low levels of iron and zinc. If you have cravings for any of the above substances, you should consider undergoing medical screening.

Is it Harmful to the Baby?

There is always a potential threat lingering with pica cravings. It depends on what one ingests. The American Pregnancy Association states consuming non-food items can interfere with the absorption of nutrients in healthy foods.

How to Control the Cravings

Dealing with pica can be eased following these suggestions:

  • Don’t be ashamed to inform your healthcare practitioner about the worst of cravings.
  • Make family members aware of your cravings. This is to keep them alert and aid in prevention of eating something harmful.
  • Monitor intake of vitamins, minerals and iron.
  • Try finding suitable distractions from thoughts about cravings.
  • Keep alternatives like vegan sugar-free gums, candies, and similar on hand.

These are a few means to relieving pica during pregnancy. Did you suffer from it? Did you find any other innovative solutions to deal with it? Let us know in the comments below.

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Debayan Paul

Digital Writer | West Bengal, India | [email protected]

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