Pregnancy and Pica Cravings: How do you deal with it?

Mustard sandwiches, burnt popcorn and undiluted lime juice; these food items usually may a person gag, but for some pregnant ladies, it’s everything they ever wanted. Pregnancy cravings are common among expecting mothers, but there are also cases of bizarre eating needs.

While there are plenty of articles and forums that provide information about healthy diets for pregnant women, there are no solid pregnancy tips for dealing with pica, an eating disorder.

What is pica?

Pica is the practice of craving substances with little to no nutritional value. In extreme cases, patients may even crave for non-food materials such as chalk and dirt. While pica usually occurs in small children, it is also commonly seen in pregnant mothers.

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What are the causes of pica?

Till this day, the exact causes for pica cravings are unknown. Doctors assume that it’s the body’s attempt to tell you that you need minerals, vitamins or other nutrients that are missing through regular food consumption.

Imbalanced hormone levels could also be one of the causes of pica. Other reasons for pica may be underlying physical or mental illness.

What are the examples of pregnancy and pica cravings?

Patients affected by pica have uncontrolled desires to consume unusual food substances. Sometimes, they may not even be edible.

Here are some examples of pica cravings:

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Are there any complications of pica cravings?

Pica is common among pregnant women but can be dangerous if not dealt with immediately. Abnormal food absorption can lead to malnutrition, infection and intoxication. For example, expectant mothers that crave for glass or wood chips have risks of damaging their digestive tracts.

If pregnant mothers give in to their cravings, it can also affect the baby. Consumption of non-edible substances can also cause malnutrition and be extremely harmful to both mother and the baby.

How do you deal with pica?

First, do not panic. Understand that pica cravings are common among pregnant women.

Secondly, inform your doctor and family members of your cravings. Have open conversations with your doctor and caregivers about your cravings no matter how bizarre or embarrassing they seem to you. Ask your doctor if you need to take tests.

Thirdly,  distract yourself with activities like watching TV or something productive. Don’t give in to your cravings if they are inedible substances. You can try chewing gum or sugarless candy as substitutes.


Pica craving spells are usually short and go away after a while. However, it can have dire consequences if pregnant mothers give in to their urges.

Are you an expectant mother and dealing with pica? Although it may be tempting to go for your cravings, it’s essential that you still maintain a healthy diet. Learn more by clicking