Pica disorder during pregnancy
Pica Disorder is a condition that is often experienced by almost all pregnant women. In periods of pregnancy, mothers will feel very eager to eat food or drink. Of course, you already know that pica disorder is a natural thing experienced by pregnant women. When pregnant, it is not uncommon for women to want to consume certain foods.
Some pregnant women add to the consumption of foods such as pickles, ice cream, chocolate, meat, or others. This is a phenomenon that normally occurs and does not become a problem since the content in these foods makes pregnant women get enough nutrients needed by the body during pregnancy.
Tips for managing pica disorder remain safe
Generally, cravings (pica disorder) are not dangerous if pregnant women can still manage them properly. Here are some ways you can do so that the cravings do not cause health problems for pregnant women:
- Try to control the weight gain
Weight control can be sourced from the way you handle cravings. If the mother’s weight is normal, then the ideal weight gain during pregnancy is 11-15 kg. But mothers with overweight before having pregnancy need to limit the consumption to keep the weight ideal. Research shows that being overweight during pregnancy can increase the risk of preeclampsia and other disorders of pregnancy and childbirth.
- Familiarize with regular dietary habit
Pregnant women are more at risk of undergoing irregular and unhealthy dietary habit due to drastic body changes. These changes affect emotions, as well as self-confidence. Breakfast every day can reduce the possibility of cravings. Besides, you can also exercise as much as possible and practice managing emotions to be more stable to avoid eating impulsively.
- Limit the consumption of sweet foods and drinks
Especially pregnant women are potential to get the risk of developing gestational diabetes, you should control the consumption of sweet foods and beverages. It is better for pregnant women to divert cravings for unhealthy foods, to be healthier. One way that can be done is to take a break.
- Avoid dangerous types of food
Pregnant women can crave food which is very dangerous to their health and the fetus. The condition of eating disorders is called pica or all eaters. People with pica can crave various kinds of objects that are not even common for consumption.
Pregnant women can crave strange foods even not categorized as food. In some cases, pregnant women who crave some substances that are not edible and may be dangerous. In conclusion, odd cravings for some substances that do not categorize as food and have no nutritional value, are called Pica.
The word “pica” comes from the Latin which means magpie. This magpie means almost anything eater. Pica is a type of cravings that often occur in children before he can distinguish objects that can be eaten or not. However, pica also occurs in many pregnant women. Pregnant women with pica can crave mud, soil, cot, gasoline, cigarette ash, broken tiles, charcoal, metal objects or other dangerous things like detergent!
The desire to eat certain things, not food, and of course no nutritional content often arises during pregnancy even though there are no hormonal factors that affect the pregnancy. Pica in pregnant women occurs because of their habits. To recognize pica during pregnancy, it can be observed from eating habits including when experiencing cravings. Although cravings are not a medical condition, rather than cultural and habitual factors, pica can be observed from it. If pregnant women start cravings strange, want to eat something even not categorized as food, this can be said as pica.
Usually, at certain gestational age, pica can disappear by itself. But there is also pica that occurs throughout pregnancy and begins to decrease until childbirth. In women, pica occurs during pregnancy but also occur before pregnancy, due to habit factors, and continue during pregnancy. But if the pica disorder seems to not reduced after giving birth, you are recommended to see a doctor.
So, what are the causes of pica disorder? How can it occur?
Until now no one has known why pregnant women experience pica. There are also many hypotheses that have been made to explain this type of cravings. The hypotheses made include various factors such as economic, social, cultural, deficiency diseases or psychological disorders themselves. The study shows, pica disorder during pregnancy can be associated with iron deficiency in pregnant women. Pica is considered as the body’s defense efforts to get lost vitamins or minerals through the consumption of normal foods.
What is the risk of cravings for babies? Something consumed is certainly very dangerous for mother and baby. Since the cravings of pica can prevent the absorption of vitamins and minerals from food into the body, causing nutritional deficiencies. This non-food substance is also toxic to pregnant women and their babies.
Although, the exact cause of cravings is not yet known. There are some allegations that some experts try to explain, namely;
Cravings can occur because of what the local culture usually believes about pregnant women. These cultural factors also influence what usually kind of desired food.
- Lack of nutrition
This condition can make the body want a certain portion of food more. For example, chocolate cravings may show that the body lacks magnesium. Red meat cravings can be a sign as the body lacks protein. Meanwhile, chocolate ice cream is probably the body’s signal to the needs of fat or calcium. Junk foods such as french fries or burgers may indicate that your body needs greater protein and sodium.
- Changes in the part of the brain
A gradual change in the uterus affects one part of the brain that affects the sense of taste or the tongue. But this suspicion still needs further investigation.
- Increased hormone levels
An increase in various levels of pregnancy hormones can change the sense of smell and taste of pregnant women. This makes the body’s needs different. This also can be the reason some foods and certain scents are more stinging during pregnancy.
Pica disorder can also be believed to be a diversion path when pregnant women want something, but cannot consume it, such as food or drinks that tend to be risky for babies, such as coffee or soda.
Some of the harmful consequences of pica disorder include:
- Eating clay can cause constipation
- Eating sand or soil can result in parasitic and bacterial infections, pain in the stomach bleeding fibers can occur occasionally
- Eat ice cubes. Chewing ice cubes can directly damage the teeth
- Eating more dirt leads to various diseases such as toxoplasma, trichuriasis, and toxocariasis
- Swallowing objects made from metal can cause perforation in the intestine
- Poisoning. Eating objects made from a tin can cause kidney damage and mental retardation
- Lack of nutrition, for both mother and the baby
- The digestive tract is blocked