If you think your pregnancy cravings seem out of this world, think again! A poll of 2,231 pregnant women, found that a third of the cravings these women experienced were for non-food items!
Unsurprisingly, chocolate was found to be the most common food craving, followed by ice cream, sweets, spicy food, pickled onions, tropical fruit, curry, doughnuts, marmite, peanut butter, potatoes and nuts. This is followed by an array of odd craving combinations such as pickles with peanut butter or marmite with ice cream. However, according to the poll by social network website, gurgle.com, found that a third of these cravings were for non-food items! We bring you the top five strange cravings:
It is not uncommon for women in some cultures to consume clay or dirt during pregnancy. In the Deep South of United States, some people believed that eating dirt and clay would help relieve morning sickness. Meanwhile in Kenya and Uganda, earth-eating has ceremonial or religious purposes. Even in urban times, there has been cases of women who hanker after dirt and clay during and after their pregnancy. The most popular dirt craver would be none other than pop sensation Britney Spears. She supposedly pined for earth badly during the last trimester of her pregnancy!
Apparently, the princess of pop, Britney Spear, leads the pack in terms of weird cravings. The desire to chew on ice is also one of her pregnancy desires. Scientists believe that the innate hunger for ice is due to an iron deficiency, often present in pregnant women. Women who hanker for ice often prefer ice cubes that they can chew on, compared to ice shavings which does not serve the same pleasure or satisfaction.
And you thought your milo on toast craving was weird?! 26 year-old British mum-to-be, has to eat the spray furniture polish at least three times a day! Seven-months pregnant, Emma Veness, has gone through three cans so far- despite her fears of harming her unborn baby girl. In an interview with the Sun UK, she said: ‘I can’t explain why I like it so much. I thnk it has a lot to do with the texture. I normally spray a bit on my fingers and lick it off or spray it on the duster and suck.’ Although she would like to give up her unusual obsession, she cannot seem to do so.
Yes, you saw it right. Mums-to-be have admitted salivating after laundry detergent. Nibbling on powdered soap is another common, yet bizarre craving. American mom blogger, Denene Millner, spoke of her weird obsession in her blog, mybrownbaby.com. She wrote: ‘when I as pregnant, I couldn’t walk past a laundry room without wanting to crunch on powdere Tide, liquid Downy and all manner of cleaning products, especially Mr. Clean.’
However, she continued to say that she ‘never actually ate or sipped any’ but admitted to inhaling the products deeply. Similar to ice craving, the obsession to eat or inhale detergent is believed to be due to an iron deficiency that can be treated using iron tablets.
Bizarre cravings are in fact an eating disorder!
While unusual pregnancy craving might be a norm and expected, such hankering for non-food items is highly abnormal and can be harmful. If an expectant mum is experiencing such symptoms, she is possibly suffering from an eating disorder called Pica. People affected by this disorder are compelled to eat things that are not generally intended for consumption.
Women who are in their first pregnancy, under the age of 20 or have suffered from Pica as a child, are more likely to crave for these non-food products. Symptoms of Pica usually appear in the first or second trimester of pregnancy, and persist for more than one month. Though symptoms tend to disappear after pregnancy, there is a chance that your Pica cravings could continue after labor and delivery. Pica is likely caused by nutritional deficiency, cultural factors or psychological reasons.
If not treated, Pica can result in health complications for both mum and unborn child. Among the possible problems would be, lead poisoning, bowel obstruction, parasite infection, dental injury, low birth weight, preterm labor and in extreme cases, stillbirth. The best way to treat and control Pica is to consult your health care professional for treatment options and further actions.