A drunken sitcom writer didn’t just invent the old pregnant-lady-wants-pickles-and-ice cream schtick. Bizarre-food craving is an actual thing that happens to actual pregnant ladies. Here’s the thing, though: some ladies get a desire for kimchi-on-sponge cake (yum!) and others want to eat all the chalk in the craft aisle at Target. You can try to erase that one from your mind, but it totally happens. It’s called pica.
Dirt For Dinner
Pica, in its most scientific definition, is the craving and nom-nom-noming of items that aren’t food. It has been observed literally everywhere in the world where ladies get pregnant (AKA everywhere where there are penises).
For many ladies pica manifests in chowing on dirt. This is called geophagia. Other ladies might go cuckoo for uncooked starch (amylophagia) or ice (pagophagia). It should be noted, however, that no lady ever has ever craved Vanilla Ice.
Other common pica cravings include:
- Burnt matches
- Coffee grounds
- Baking soda
- Cigarette ash
All of which seem like they’d be crazy hard to pica-chew.
Why Pica Happens
Pica appears linked to having anemia. The body’s need for certain micronutrients associated with a lack of proper nutrition potentially trigger the unbearable cravings. But in the end it remains a mystery, much like your bizarre attraction to boneless hot wings.
What To Do About It
Eating nonfood items is dangerous. It can expose both your partner and your baby to any number of toxins (or in the case of dirt, bacteria and viruses) that could cause pregnancy complications.
That said, the first thing to do is make sure the doc knows what’s going down. They’ll probably want to be on top of your partner’s iron intake to make sure things are cool there. As far as dealing with the cravings, that’s a bit more tricky. Some have suggested chewing flavorless gum, which means you’re going to have start buying a lot of baseball cards for the first time in 20 years.
Dealing with pica can be tough, but talking about it and normalizing it are crucial. So don’t sweat it. After all, not every guy has a pregnant partner who wants more than anything to get dirty.