What causes pica during pregnancy?
Pica during pregnancy is the craving for substances that are non-nutritive, such as clay or chalk, and is more common in children than in pregnant women, although it can occur during some pregnancies. The medical cause is unknown, but there is speculation that it comes from an iron deficiency. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), pica is related to a Spleen deficiency (not considered the same 'spleen' as in conventional medicine). In The Theory of Five Elements, the Spleen is related to the Earth Element, and thus a deficiency of the Spleen organ can result in such patterns as the desire to eat Earth-like substances.
Most women suffering from pica will crave clay, chalk, or laundry starch, but some will crave such things as burnt matches, stones, charcoal, ice, coffee grounds and cigarette ashes. Depending on the substance being eaten, these cravings can be potentially harmful to you and your baby, so medical treatment should be sought immediately.
How can natural therapy help with pica during pregnancy?
Once your iron levels are being monitored, consider using chewing gum as an alternative to your cravings, and make an appointment to visit us. Acupuncture and TCM can be very valuable in treating pica, as can talking with one of our naturopathic doctors.
Contact us for a FREE consultation on how natural therapy can help you with pica during pregnancy.