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Health Team

Eating condition leads to 'weird cravings' during pregnancy

Posted December 22, 2015

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— Woman often eat many things during pregnancy that they would never consider when they're not expecting a baby.

Sometimes a pregnant woman will eat something that even other pregnant women would never think about putting in their mouth, including dirt.

Chrissy Kurtz, who was having her house built at the time she was pregnant, felt tempted to eat dirt while gardening.

“There were a couple of times that I actually did, just because it was overwhelming—you know—the craving, that gritty taste. It was crazy,” Kurtz said.

The name of the condition—Pica—can also include cravings for ashes, rubber bands, paper and powered laundry detergent.

Ohio State gynecologist Dr. Melissa Goist says it’s not safe to eat questionable material, and women should talk to a doctor about odd cravings.

WRAL’s Dr. Allen Mask said it’s simply caused by low levels of zinc or iron in the blood.

“Most women, I will put on an iron supplement and a lot of them actually tend to start to feel better or have less of those kinds of cravings; weird cravings,” Goist said.

Mask said cravings tend to disappear when the baby is born, but it’s hard to know how frequent Pica type cravings occur because many women are embarrassed to admit they’ve had the craving, and given into it.

“More normal cravings lead women to look for sweets and more carbs,” Mask said. “If the mother-to-be overdoes it and ends up gaining too much with, that can lead to high blood pressure and gestational diabetes.”

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  • Brittany Murdock Dec 22, 2015
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    This is so true. When I got pregnant with my first child with the use of conceiveeasy, I thought cravings were just a phase. Then every day I would crave for vanilla ice cream with anchovies. Glad I didn’t have extreme craving because I might have also give in.