Did anyone experience non-food cravings while pregnant? I have heard that there are some women who crave things like dirt, coffee grounds, ice etc. It's called Pica. I did crave water during my pregnancy and never could get enough of it but as a teenager I craved ice all the time. My doctor said it was because I had an iron deficiency and put me on suppliments and he gave me a list of iron rich foods to eat. Soon - after my iron levels went back to normal - I didn't crave the ice anymore.
Anyway, I just wanted to see if any of you experienced this. Of course some of these cravings could be VERY dangerous and can't be fulfilled, so what did you do to curb them?
Yes some women do experience non food cravings, known as Pica. It is related to diet deficiencies.
I myself experienced Pica with three of my four children - I also craved ice with my first two and with the third I craved soap (in block form, not liquid)! Yes I know, very odd :D However I chose to never give in to the urge, supplemented my diet with vitamins and minerals in consultation with my care provider, and kept lumps of soap out of my line of sight! Even to this day (10 years later) my mouth waters if I see a lump of soap.
I would be interested to hear if anyone else has also experienced Pica, thank you for starting this interesting topic
Interesting topic! I have not personally experienced pica but I have known others who have. I often wonder if its not more prevalent than we realize. Whereas many women would share the fact that they craved ice, many would not want to admit that they craved paper or sheet rock.
I craved coal - we don't even have coal in the house: I must be weird! ;)
I didn't give into this particular craving and settled on copious amounts of cereals and milk instead.
My sister who is on her first trimester of pregnancy is craving for ice. Ice chips and any frozen fruit juices in particular. She said that it helps her relieve her nausea.
Some people like to smell the fumes of gas when they're pumping gas into the tank of their car. I remember liking this when I was a child. However, when I learned about pica, I realized that I most likely had a nutrient deficiency, and the fumes were REALLY bad for my body, so I should avoid them when at all possible.
Pica is a craving associated with mineral deficiencies. Vitamin deficiencies, protein deficiencies nor calorie deficiencies will initiate the "pica" behavior. Taking vitamin supplements (without minerals), eating sugar, carbohydrates or fat will not stop the cravings caused by mineral deficiencies.
However, taking a high quality mineral supplement will usually help. As others mentioned above, when they had the iron supplement they needed, their craving for certain foods or substances diminished.
Most of us don't know when we have mineral deficiencies, and the body will temporarily crave sugar and salt in hopes of fulfilling the craving for the nutrients we lack. If we lack iron, salt or sugar will temporarily satisfy our pica behavior which is actually being initiated by the iron deficiency. Unfortunately the salt and sugar (or in the case above "ice") won't address the underlying cause, and the craving will surface again regularly.
In Australia, the most common trace mineral deficiencies are zinc, manganese, copper and molybdenum. In America, soils are critically deficient or depleted of minerals. Foods grown in these kinds of soils are often deficient in certain minerals. When we eat foods which are deficient in minerals, our bodies become deficient in minerals as well… and if we're carrying a child or breastfeeding a child, their bodies will most likely be deficient, to some degree, as well.
One easy way to avoid pica (and mineral deficiencies) is to take a high quality mineral supplement. I take a mineral supplement every day and it has really helped with my energy levels and overall health and well being. It's important to take a high quality vitamin and mineral supplement during preconception care, during pregnancy, and while breastfeeding.
Yes craving for something which is not edible is called pica. I believe this is a serious matter and should be consulted with your doctor to be treated. Pica is due to low iron levels. During pregnancy, iron is very important for the mother and of course the baby. Iron helps especially in baby's brain development. Pica shouldn't be ignored.