Why You Crave Ice During Pregnancy
Pregnancy goes hand in hand with some pretty strange cravings, and crunching ice is one of the strangest. Whether it’s the refreshing cold, the tactile crunch or something lacking in our diets, there are plenty of theories on why we ᴄʀᴀᴠᴇ ice during pregnancy.
Quirky as it is, craving ice during pregnancy is really common, and there’s actually a name for it – ᴘᴀɢᴏᴘʜᴀɢɪᴀ. Compulsive ice chewing is a form of pica, which is eating or craving non-food items like ᴅɪʀᴛ, chalk – even ᴍᴏᴛʜʙᴀʟʟs.
The reasons pregnant women ᴄʀᴀᴠᴇ ice
While the experts are still not sure why people, and in particular pregnant women, develop pica, there is a theory that links eating strange, non-food items and certain nutritional deficiencies.
One sᴛᴜᴅʏ found that ɴᴏɴ-ᴀɴᴇᴍɪᴄ sᴛᴜᴅʏ participants had low rates of compulsive ice-chewing, while those who were ᴀɴᴇᴍɪᴄ had a much higher rate of ᴘᴀɢᴏᴘʜᴀɢɪᴀ – 56 per cent. The other interesting tidbit to come out of the same sᴛᴜᴅʏ was that those with ᴀɴᴇᴍɪᴀ who crunched on ice had dramatically improved response time on a ɴᴇᴜʀᴏᴘsʏᴄʜᴏʟᴏɢɪᴄᴀʟ test.
The ʀᴇsᴇᴀʀᴄʜᴇʀs said, “We hypothesise that chewing ice ᴛʀɪɢɢᴇʀs ᴠᴀsᴄᴜʟᴀʀ changes that lead to ᴘʀᴇFᴇʀᴇɴᴛɪᴀʟ ᴏʀ ɪɴᴄʀᴇᴀsᴇᴅ ᴘᴇʀFᴜsɪᴏɴ of the brain. This would result in increased alertness and processing speed in ᴀɴᴇᴍɪᴄ ᴘᴀᴛɪᴇɴᴛs, but not in healthy controls who are already at ceiling, and would explain why ᴀɴᴇᴍɪᴄ individuals ᴄʀᴀᴠᴇ ice.” So perhaps chewing ice is a way to ᴄᴏᴍʙᴀᴛ baby brain. Amazing!
It’s thought that one in five women ᴄʀᴀᴠᴇ ice during pregnancy, so you’re certainly not alone if you’re crunching away! The only downside may be a stern talking to from your dentist. And as always, if you feel like something’s not quite right, head straight to your doctor for testing to check your iron levels.