Pica happens when you get unusual cravings to eat things that aren't food, such as ice, soil, stones, soap, clay and other many more non food substances. It may be a sign of inadequate nutritional intake. Pica is more common in pregnant women because your body has increased nutritional needs during pregnancy.
It’s easier to have a deficiency if you aren’t eating the right kinds of food or have nausea and can’t eat much.
This eating condition can harm your health depending on what you’re eating — and how much of it. The underlying cause of your cravings for nonfood items may also harm you and your baby.
In most cases, pica in pregnant women goes away on its own. Improving your nutritional intake or taking a prenatal vitamin supplements can help.
The reason that some women develop pica cravings during pregnancy is not known for certain. However there may be a connection to an iron deficiency. Pica cravings can also be due to the body’s attempt to obtain vitamins or minerals that are missing through normal food consumption.
Sometimes pica cravings may be related to an underlying physical or mental illness.
RISK TO THE UNBORN BABY.
Eating non-food substances is potentially harmful to both you and your baby. Eating non-food substances may interfere with the nutrient absorption of healthy food substances and actually cause a deficiency. Pica cravings are also a concern because non-food items may contain toxic or parasitic ingredients.
MANAGEMENT OF PICA.
Don’t panic; it happens and is not abnormal. The most important thing is to inform your health care provider to make sure you have a complete understanding of the specific risks associated with your cravings.
Here are some suggestions to help you deal with pica cravings:
Inform your health care provider and review your prenatal health records
Monitor your iron status along with other vitamin and mineral intake
Consider potential substitutes for the cravings such as chewing sugarless gum,
Take the iron and ferrous sulphate supplements provided on your antenatal clinics.
If there is any other underlying physical, medical or mental issue, let it get addressed.
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