Are you pregnant and finding yourself having a bizarre craving or cravings? What I mean by bizarre cravings, is I mean you are craving items not meant for consumption and have no nutritional value. If so, you are not alone…there are other women just like yourself who are experiencing the same thing.
So what exactly are these women craving?
The most common substances craved during pregnancy are dirt, clay, and laundry starch.
Other cravings include:
What you are experiencing is PICA which is the practice of craving substances with little or no nutritional value.
What causes PICA?
No one knows what causes these unusual cravings, but a combination of biochemical, psychological, and cultural factors may be at work. In some studies, pica has been linked to iron deficiency – even though none of the craved items contained a significant amount of iron.
What should you do if you have PICA?
- Talk to your healthcare provider
- Tell your loved ones and people you trust about the issue
- Seek help from a therapist to address any psychological issues you may be experiencing
When I was pregnant with my first child, I noticed that I really loved Vicks Vapor Rub and everything about it. At night I would rub myself down with Vicks, then I would open the Vicks container and inhale the Vicks. My love for Vicks took a different turn when I started craving the Vicks, I had a strong desire to eat the Vicks. Eventually, I gave into my craving and started eating the Vicks. I did it secretly, until one day I was busted! Yes my husband caught me eating the Vicks.
He was like, “baby what are you doing?” I couldn’t explain myself, and even though I had been caught it did not stop me from eating the Vicks. My husband was very concerned about all of this and suggested that I speak to my doctor about it. So I did, my doctor explained to me that what I was experiencing what is known as PICA. After my daughter was born my cravings for Vicks Vapor Rub completely disappeared.
Now that I am pregnant with baby #2 , my cravings for Vicks Vapor rub has returned. It’s funny because with this baby I did not know I was pregnant until I was almost 3 months pregnant. Everything was normal, I went about life as usual, until I started having cravings for Vicks, and I knew that I was pregnant. I went to the doctors and they confirmed that in fact I was pregnant. I refused to eat the Vicks Vapor Rub during this pregnancy, but the cravings became more and more intense. So, one day while at the pharmacy I noticed that they had other alternatives to Vicks Vapor Rub. I decided to buy the Vicks Vapo Inhaler, I fell in love with it my first time trying it. It made me feel so good, I felt that it was better than me eating the Vicks Vapor Rub. My husband does not like the idea that I constantly have this inhaler up my nose and go nuts when I cannot find it. To make things worse I started to crave something else, something that I did not crave when I was pregnant with my first child.
I developed a craving for ice and honestly my craving is out of control. I literally go through large bags of ice in less than a week. When I am at work I have a cup of ice by my desk and I am constantly chewing on ice and of course inhaling my Vicks inhaler. My ice craving have caused me some serious issues, I have cracked one of my teeth while eating ice and still that has not stopped me. I have not really experienced any issues with my Vicks inhaler besides burning sensations, which only happen when I inhale too hard. What I noticed is that when I feel anxious or stressed I tend to increase my use of the Vick inhaler and also increase the amount of ice that I am eating.
All in all, I feel that my PICA is psychological, I have a history of depression and anxiety, my depression has gotten better over the years but my anxiety seems to still stick around. I forgot to mention something important that I did notice, I noticed that when I stopped exercising my cravings for these things increased. I find that to be very interesting, I think there is some correlation, but I am not sure. One thing I do know is that I cope with my stress and anxiety by working out.