Pica de Pregnancy: The one craving that made pickles and ice cream seem normal

24 weeks…

When I was pregnant with the twins I carried, I hardly gained any weight. Oh, sure, I had the regular cravings- Who doesn’t love pickles and ice cream?! And believe me, I indulged in any and all of my cravings any time I wanted. In the early days I would smash an entire bag of mini powdered donuts each evening (not proud of it, but Hey!)!! I would eat a salad or broccoli slaw for lunch just so I didn’t look like a freak drinking Italian dressing (another craving). I was regular at the local DQ…In the winter!! And I didn’t exercise a single day. So how did my weight gain stay so low…?

I mentioned before that the pregnancy with the twins was not without complications. Between 5 and 6 weeks I started hemorrhaging…BAD. That’s actually how I found out I was having two babies. I had to go in for an ultrasound because I thought I had miscarried again. Not only had I NOT lost the pregnancy, but the ultrasound had us all seeing double! The doctor determined the pregnancy was was perfectly healthy, but what happened next was just weird…

The bleeding continued until I was 10 weeks along, when I ultimately stopped the hormone injections. Along the way, the twins and I were monitored to make sure we were healthy, and we were. Very much so, actually. The ultrasound clearly showed the blood in my uterus, but it wasn’t harming the boys at all. The bleeding was a gross, often inopportune inconvenience, but manageable. Then the cravings got stranger…

At that point in my life, I rarely- if ever- ate meat. But all of a sudden, I wanted burgers almost every day- like, had to have them. I craved salad with spinach, and even more broccoli (but no longer as the means to the Italian dressing end). But most of all I craved…I C E. Yes, the plain old, unflavored water variety. Who knew there were so many size, shape and density options?! I became an ice connoisseur; I became OBSESSED. At no point in the day did I not have a cup of ice on hand. And while the scale loved it, my dentist hated it.

It seemed that an iron-deficient pregnancy (because of the consistent hemorrhaging) triggered PICA- a condition where you crave things with no nutritional value (think dirt, rocks, laundry detergent, toilet paper– odd cravings made famous thanks to shows like ‘My Strange Addiction‘ on TLC)…And in my case- ICE. Pica was essentially a symptom of my iron deficiency and I was pretty lucky that it presented as an ice craving for me. The only major complication I had because of it was some damage to my teeth.

I think it is important to note that at no point during that pregnancy was I diagnosed as anemic, to which I credit my daily pre-natal vitamin, and iron-rich meals including red meat, spinach and broccoli slaw. I treated my ice cravings as an on-going snack throughout the day/evening in addition to balanced meals. But there was a happy side-effect of eating ice all day. Because of the ice, I was extra hydrated, experienced no bloating/swelling (even with a hot, summer pregnancy), and had super clear, luminous skin. And like magic, when the pregnancy ended, so did my ice obsession.

This pregnancy has been pretty boring when it comes to cravings, though I have consumed my weight in glazed donuts, hot, pickled cauliflower, and sour candy. But who knows what the next 15 weeks will bring, so stay tuned while my family grows another

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