Updated 11 February 2013


Pregnancy can bring about a whole bunch of wonderful experiences, but also some very weird ones.


Some common cravings include chocolate, sweets, citrus fruits and juice, cheese, and grain products. If the food you crave is nutritious, there is no harm in satisfying the craving (within reason). If it is in the "nice but not necessary" category, such as sweets, cookies, cakes, and chips, try eating it small amounts along with a healthy meal or snack.

  • Ice (pagophagia)
  • Dirt (geophagia)
  • Vinyl gloves
  • Needles
  • String
  • Pencil erasers
  • Light bulbs
  • Gravel
  • Flaking paint or plaster
  • Laundry starch (amylophagia)
  • Coal
  • Cigarette ashes
  • Clay
  • Rocks
  • Chalk
  • Hair
  • Glue

  • Deficiencies in iron, calcium, zinc, and other nutrients (like thiamine, niacin, vitamins C and D). However, the non-food items craved usually do not supply the minerals lacking in the person's body.
  • Mental or physical illness
  • Malnutrition and hunger due to an eating disorder or poverty.
  • Women who experienced pica in childhood.

  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Recurrent infections and/or parasitic infestations
  • Dental injuries

  • Depending on the degree of pica displayed, the condition could be difficult to identify in pregnant women.
  • If a woman eats easy digestibly substances in small quantities it might not be detected by the doctor as she might be too embarrassed to discuss it.
  • The patient may not show signs of malnutrition if she is eating an otherwise balanced diet.
  • In more serious cases, Pica could be diagnosed if the patient has intestinal blockages, shows signs of poisoning (lead or other), and through X-rays
  • There is no specific medical test that can confirm pica.
  • Before making a diagnosis, the doctor will rule out any mental disorders.
  • Pica in pregnant women is sometimes only diagnosed after childbirth because of a health problem in the newborn caused by the substance(s) ingested by the mother.

  • Intestinal infections or parasites from soil
  • Intestinal obstruction / bowel perforation
  • Anaemia
  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Constipation and abdominal problems

  • If you have acute and chronic cravings for any non-food substances during pregnancy you should tell your doctor; and
  • If you have eaten non-food substances and you experience abdominal pain or severe constipation, you should call your doctor immediately.

  • Eat a healthy diet that includes a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, and an adequate amount of protein and carbohydrates.
  • Take a daily prenatal vitamin.
  • If you cannot stomach prenatal vitamins due to morning sickness, try taking a regular multivitamin along with a folic acid supplement.
  • Visit your doctor during all scheduled antenatal visits.



2019-11-18 06:57

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