What is Pica in pregnancy? And what causes it?

If you haven’t heard of pica (I only stumbled across the term recently), it’s the term used to describe the intense craving for – and eating of – non-food items, such as soil, clay, laundry starch, ice, ashes, plaster, paint chips, and coffee grounds.

Pica comes from the Latin word for magpie, a bird known for eating almost anything, and, although quite common, doesn’t always relate to pregnancy (it can be an actual disorder).

But why? – I mean, who wants to eat dirt!? Gross!

The annoying fact is that scientists don’t really know why. Some researchers have linked Pica to iron deficiency and others say that it’s a combination of biochemical, psychological, and cultural factors (whatever that means?).

When I was pregnant with my second child, I craved the scent of acetone, petrol and permanent marker… yum! And about half way through I developed the constant need for sparkling water – it was definitely something to do with the fizz because mineral water just didn’t cut it.

Both cravings disappeared after I had my baby. I was pretty sure it had something to do with some mineral that my body was lacking and in my third trimester all was revealed… iron deficiency!

The best thing to do is have a chat to your GP or midwife if you’re concerned about your weird pregnancy cravings; maybe blood tests will reveal something but maybe not. The point is that Pica is not abnormal and usually goes away when babs is born.

Did you have any weird non-food pregnancy cravings when you were pregnant?

Source: Babycenter.com – “What causes pica (craving and consuming non-food items) during pregnancy?”