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Craving to eat dirt, chalk or soap: the itch in pregnancy

During pregnancy, it is common for women to have some kind of craving, which can range from something very normal, such as ice cream or chocolate, to rather strange cravings, such as foods that they did not like before or that are not usually eaten together.

However, some women have reported that they crave non-food items during pregnancy, such as dirt, chalk, or soap. We tell you what pica in pregnancy is and what you should do if it occurs.

Pica in pregnancy

Pica is an eating disorder in which the person feels the irrepressible urge to eat things that are not food and that have no nutritional value . Although they are usually rare and infrequent cases, this disorder usually occurs in children and pregnant women.

Pica usually appears during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy, and among the “cravings” that can occur due to pica are things like dirt, rocks, chalk, clay, baking soda, hair, ice, soap, paint, matches or paper .

Although a specific cause has not been identified as responsible for this eating disorder during pregnancy, it is believed that it may present with a deficiency of vitamins and minerals, such as iron or zinc, although the possibility that its origin may be due to psychological reasons.

Should I be concerned if I want to eat dirt or soap?

In principle, and if you only feel the desire to consume any of these things but it does not go beyond a momentary thought, there are no serious reasons to worry, although of course you should discuss it with your doctor to evaluate your nutritional situation.

If, on the other hand, it has happened that you have not been able to stop that impulse and you ended up eating any of the things listed above, it is important that you call your doctor to analyze your mood and verify that you have not ingested something that could be dangerous for you or for yourself. your baby.

Consuming things that are not food can interfere with nutrient absorption and lead to deficiency, as well as increase the risk of intestinal problems, parasite infections, and poisoning .

Treatment to follow

Once pica has been diagnosed, treatment will depend on the possible cause of it . In some cases, and when its origin is a nutritional deficiency, the cravings caused by pica disappear when the nutrients that were needed are consumed, but in others, the intervention of a psychologist is necessary.

Regardless of the origin of the pica, it is extremely important that you discuss it with your doctor and be honest about the things you have consumed , as the treatment will depend on this, as well as the health of you and your baby.

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