During pregnancy it is not unusual for expectant mothers to experience cravings for foods that they wouldn’t normally desire or even enjoy before they conceived. Some women find themselves with a yearning for inedible items, including ice, dirt, clay, paper, and even paint, a condition known as Pica.
Scientists are unsure exactly why women can sometimes develop bizarre cravings. Some experts say that cravings, and also food aversions, are protective. For example, pregnant women may crave milk more because they are aware of the high levels of calcium contained within, or they may not feel like drinking alcohol as they understand this could hamper a baby’s mental and physical development.
Others think a pregnant woman’s preference for certain foods such as salt-laden crisps is nature’s way of helping her meet her daily sodium quota. However, it’s highly unlikely that cells translate so-called nutrient shortfalls into food cravings. For this to be accurate women would have to have an innate knowledge of the vitamins and minerals contained within different food and drink. There is no scientific evidence to support this theory.
A craving for inedible objects, such as charcoal, may be the result of an iron deficiency during the pregnancy. Once again this is only a theory. When my own mother was pregnant with me she loved the smell of bleach – this is likely a result of the heightened sense of smell some expectant mothers experience. Fortunately she managed to resist sniffing directly from the bottle and I escaped fairly unscathed. It is vital that should a pregnant woman crave any chemicals or inedible objects during pregnancy, they do not act on these desires and report this unusual behaviour to their doctor immediately.
As part of my ongoing quest to better understand what it is like for my missus to be pregnant, Amer and I tasted five “dishes” supposedly craved by pregnant woman. Our tasting notes are below, as is a video of us undertaking this food torture.
Dish 1 – Pickles and Ice Cream
- The ice cream used was Ben and Jerrys Chocolate Fudge Brownie – no flavour could have made this dish edible
- Can understand why using Flakes in the top of 99’s are more popular
- There is a reason most people pick the gherkins out of their McDonalds cheeseburgers!
Disgustingness rating: 6/10
Dish 2 – Salsa and M&Ms
- Tasted like spicy sewage
- M&Ms used were crispy M&Ms, which as we discovered, taste like handfuls of gravel
- Evoked the Latin spirit if the Latin spirit were Lambrini
Disgustingness rating: 7/10
Dish 3 – A wet sponge
- Highly refreshing – like giving your mouth a shower with Radox
- Produced a comforting warm smell that took me back to my own childhood. I was lost in daydream of rubber duckies and jasmine scented bubblebath
- Would sample again under the right circumstances!
Disgustingness rating: 1/10
Dish 4 – Bananas dipped in tomato ketchup
- Whilst eating this concoction I felt like a monkey with a nosebleed
- Not very appealing…get it…peeling…peel…never mind
- May work better with HP sauce – further experimentation required
Disgustingness rating: 9/10
Dish 5 – Talcum powder
- Leaves a dry taste in your mouth similar to the way cranberry juice does, except unlike with cranberry juice, you are worried tasting it might cause you to permanently lose your eyesight. Fortified cranberry juice can be an excellent source of calcium or vitamin C and contains an array of other nutrients necessary during pregnancy
- Your tongue turns in to a desert wasteland complete with cacti and camel urine
- Like eating nuclear fallout!
Disgustingness rating: 10