If there’s one thing us ladies love to discuss in great detail it’s our crazy pregnancy cravings; those unfathomable urges for food, drink… and the totally bizarre that sweep over us and our bump without a moment’s notice and would have us beg, steal (and almost) kill just to get our fix. From jumbo battered sausages dunked in ketchup to Easter Eggs, and coal to toothpaste – the latter I definitely wouldn’t advise anybody to eat! – it seems nothing is off limits in the puzzling new world of the expectant hungry mama.
Mine have definitely been stranger than fiction!
Okay with Bubs No 1 they started out nice and healthy. Cold organic apple juice. No, it couldn’t be the supermarket’s own make, neither could it be consumed at anything other than zero degrees or below. From week 8 I was bowled over by an inexplicable tidal wave of thirst for the stuff. Weekends turned into trips to farm shops and the fridge freezer barely contained a morsel of food. My BIG Apple fix was what it was all about. By week 10 I could no longer look at chocolate. The smell of coffee turned my stomach. And so did TV presenter Noel Edmunds’ mere presence during a lazy afternoon watching Deal or no Deal… after which I promptly hurled up my tomato soup. But Hello crisps! And then some months later… Hello Easter! With the last trimester returned my penchant for chocolate. It was absolutely no problem for me to devour an entire egg and its inner contents in a sitting. Well, I was eating for two…
Four years later I was looking forward to most of the same pattern again. Except it all went a bit weird. Instead of craving anything remotely edible I spent the entire 9 months drooling at the thought of eating tea tree oil, petrol and bleach. Obviously I wasn’t silly enough to do so. But it had definitely crossed my mind in my daydreams. I suspected the tea tree was fine – to use! – in small doses… and I did my research as well as checking with my midwife. Yes. For me this particular oil in small quantities was, (some essential oils are definitely not to be used during pregnancy though, so always, always check first). And so I bathed in a few drops. Bliss! I sniffed at the bottle, I applied my tea tree face mask and I used my tea tree facial scrub. We scoured Amazon and Ebay for tea tree soaps and candles. I hung out at The Body Shop’s tea tree section. A lot. My days became one giant tea tree oil quest. What else could we introduce into our home to give me my tea tree hit? Just a whiff of it and I was in heaven! And I tried. Oh, I tried… not to keep topping the car up with £10 of petrol at a time. But it was just too tempting. The garage was just down the road where the modest whiff of petrol and diesel were pervading the air. It was the next best thing to eating the stuff. *Disclaimer – again, I do not recommend anybody do the same… best not to inhale these kind of fumes at any time… and definitely not when pregnant*. And the same goes for the cleaning products. The whole experience was just so indescribable. I literally wanted to eat the smell of a substance that was completely inedible. I was utterly relieved at week 39 when the silliness vanished as quickly as it had emerged and my hankering was for the slightly saner option of the strawberry McDonalds’ thick shake. It had to be a boy.
It was a boy.
What the heck?
The miniscule research that has been carried out on the subject of Pica – named after the Latin for magpie for obvious reasons! – hints at a possible mineral and iron deficiency, with the most common items craved being coal, chalk, ice, soap or burnt matchsticks. But we’re basically talking anything with a non-nutritional value. Usually these bizarre longings do pass… however if you are struggling with them in any shape or form for more than a couple of weeks. And definitely if you are almost at the stage of attempting to eat them DO seek medical attention. Speak urgently with your midwife or healthcare provider. Because very occasionally, Pica can also be a sign of an underlying physical or mental illness.
Everything in moderation.
As a rule of thumb though, there’s usually no harm at all in going with the flow of your food cravings, particularly in the early days if they are helping you get through the dreaded morning sickness. Ginger nuts, peppermint tea and dry cream crackers definitely spring to mind. If you are getting the majority of your vitamins and minerals everyday and your body is screaming out for ice cream topped with pickles… or the infamous tuna and banana pizza from the Yellow Pages commercials (here I am showing my age) go for it!
Because pregnancy is all about enjoying legendary combinations…
Recently I shared a meme on my Facebook page suggesting that our top pregnancy cravings for each baby should actually be the names of our children. Daft but very funny. And very interactive! Here are some of the weird and wonderful obsessions readers had; Bran Flakes (I think that would have actually made me gag… especially without milk!), cheesecake, Frazzles bacon-flavoured crisps, blueberries, tuna, McNuggets, bananas, Walls’ Magnum ice creams, Love Heart sweets (remember those?), cherry tomatoes, salt n pepper ribs, mash, orange juice, peach melba yoghurt, olives, lemonade lollies (ooh, they sound great), Walls’ Calippo (hmm, are Walls’ onto something?), Ritz crackers, Walkers’ ready salted crisps, liver and onions (eugh… reminds me of childhood – great for the iron though), Mexican anything, tangerines, chocolate… in all its guises, batter (yep, I had a thing for a jumbo battered sausage with ketchup for just one random night during all three of my pregnancies), Diet Coke, sponge, Kellog’s Frosties, Cadbury’s Creme Eggs, Coca Cola, fish and last but definitely not least, Turkish Delight.
Well, I’ve definitely come across more unconventional names!
Then there was pork pie and bacon… which turned one reader from veggie to carnivore. Cardboard (yikes), another lady with a thing about cleaning products… but for all 3 of her pregnancies, and last but not least, pink toothpaste! And The Glass House’s own Duchess with her addiction to baths…
I’m so glad I wasn’t the only one with Pica when preggers.
Nobody knows for sure what causes crazy pregnancy cravings.
Many ladies find that their sense of taste and smell are totally changed during pregnancy. It could simply be that these differences in the body’s reactions also affect our food likes. However, other women experience things in completely the opposite way; they crave nothing at all in particular but simply ‘go off’ the idea of certain foods or drinks instead – sweet stuff and coffee often being top of the list. Ultimately, when we literally listen to our gut instinct and trust the messages we’re receiving from our body – with the exception of the phenomenon of Pica, of course! – we should enjoy a healthy and very fun pregnancy.
And now we’re curious to hear from YOU…
Have we missed anything on our crazy pregnancy cravings list? Did you become a Pica-like magpie too, hunting out the oddball and the curious? Or maybe you just found some foods a complete and utter turn-off?
Whatever your experience, let us know!