Pica- It’s Back

I want, I crave, I salivate thinking of eating a spoonful of wet sand. I would love to eat a couple pieces of chalk.

I want these things more than anything else. More than pickles or ice cream, more than pizza or french fries. Nothing sounds as good to eat as sand and chalk. I’d even settle for the shavings of a gritty rock… like the one I craved when I was pregnant with Leyna. 


It sounds so strange to you, I know. And to me, when I would try to explain how I “used to have pica” to people, when I was past it, it was so strange to me, too. But now? In this moment? It makes total sense in my head. Why wouldn’t people eat sand and chalk? Why don’t those things sound delicious to others?


This is bizarre, and yet it’s not… to me.

Of course, I’m not acting on it. OF COURSE, I’ll tell my midwife about it at my appointment next week, and my blood will be checked for iron levels again, and I’ll keep taking supplements and cooking everything in a cast iron skillet. I’ll keep requesting steak whenever I get the chance, and adding a side of leafy greens or broccoli.

But, I don’t think it will go away. I did everything I could when I was pregnant with Leyna to try to get it to go away. My iron levels were never dangerously low, but still it was there -the constant, strong desire to eat earth, rocks, sand, dirt, which started around 6 months pregnant. Right where I’m at now.

Quite a few of you asked when I posted about Kendall’s rock jar a couple weeks ago if I was craving those rocks in that jar. And I wasn’t. Then. I’m still not, not those rocks. Not really rocks at all this time… so far.

But soon after, I found myself thinking, “Wow, I bet the sandy dirt at the bottom of that river would taste really good.” And then, on our rainy drive home from St. Louis, I couldn’t stop dreaming of wet, sandy dirt along the side of the road. Cracker Barrel couldn’t hold a candle.

So it’s back – this weird obsession that makes everyone but me cringe. Because to me it makes total sense. Why wouldn’t I want to eat chalk and sand? That’s like someone asking me why I wouldn’t want to eat a red velvet cupcake. That’s just absurd, of course I’d eat that.

Except I won’t. Yet.


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  1. I don’t think it sounds weird. I mean, it does, but it doesn’t. THAT sounds weird. Put it this way, nothing strikes me as weird these days, especially as you have a name for it and it’s related to pregnancy hormones. Just like the people on My Strange Obsession are obsessed with eating the things they do (tissue, drywall, sofa fillings, cleanser (even though they act on it. Regularly)), I think body chemistry can be a freaky weirdo.

      • Im not pregnant. ..in fact my last youngest child is SEVEN years old but I do STILL, have this very STRONG craving for sandy textures. I eat Splenda, any off brand yellow package sweetner and Pixie Sticks….the LARGE ONES!!! In fact I was getting one from my bag and I thought, “Am I the only person like this? WHY do I crave it so much?!” Thats when I happily found you guys!! Now I dont think Im CRAZY anymore!!

  2. I don’t *think* I had pica because I never craved anything but when I was pregnant with #2, I RELISHED the smell of our basement, vents when the air conditioning would kick in and even the firehouse garage where my hubby works. I don’t know what it was but my mouth would water whenever I’d get a whiff of something “chemically”. Several times a day I’d open our basement door and take a deep whiff! My husband thought I was weird….but man, it smelled SO GOOD to me.

  3. I read about pica and knew it could potentially hit me, but I have never had it myself. I just got back from my checkup and my iron levels are terribly low. But even then I don’t crave dirt. I mainly just crave oxygen, frankly. Feel like I can’t breathe most of the time. Thank you for sharing this. It’s one of those things you may hear about, but rarely know anyone who had it, or admitted having it. I am so glad when women speak up about all the weird things that pregnancy brings with, instead of just singing praises about how miraculous and natural the process is. I mean – it is miraculous and natural, but it is also so much crap that just feels like nature kind of didn’t know what she was thinking, too. Hope this is short lived for you!

  4. This might sound like an odd question, but: is there a reason why you shouldn’t eat some chalk? It’s just calcium carbonate, which AFAIK is non-toxic as it’s in antacids and hard water (if not, you know, an actual foodstuff 🙂 ).

  5. Casey B. Mullins Coombs on

    Come on over here, Addie claims there’s a few things I make that taste *just like dirt.* Which is to say I’m only one culinary tragedy away from something tasting just like sand. 🙂

  6. Would something of a chalky texture suffice, I wonder? Like Sweethearts or those old candy cigarettes? Very interesting!

  7. Willow Matteson on

    I had pica as a child. I ate a whole, real mud pie I made and got worms! The horror of pooping out a living animal made my cravings stop.

  8. Heidi Komlofske-Rojek on

    I went through an anemic stage many years ago where I craved ice. I could not get enough of it. When I got my iron levels situated, it stopped.

  9. Holly Borstad on

    I was just complaining about gestational diabetes, I should just be glad I don’t have Pica I guess 🙂 Stay strong!

  10. I haven’t had that, but this pregnancy, I was watching Fringe and there was an autopsy, and the sight of that human brain…oh my gosh. I just want to eat it. How HORRIBLE AND DISGUSTING is that? What does that even mean? Someone said maybe amino acids or fatty acids, I forget which. Either way, I want to eat brains. This baby is a zombie.

    • To be fair, most “organs” on TV are made at least partially of food-stuffs, or animal organs (which are mostly edible).

      The brain was likely either all gelatin or plastic model “slimed” with gelatin, depending on how it was handled and displayed.

      I lol’d at zombie baby though!! Maybe it just really, really, wants some horse hooves and is good at spotting them c:

  11. Ah, I’m so sorry, there’s nothing worse than having a pregnancy craving you can’t fulfill! I’ve had low iron with two of my pregnancies, but luckily never craved anything but ice because of it.

  12. You know those Necco Wafers and the “marshmallows” in Lucky Charms taste pretty chalky to me…they might satisfy some of the texture craving. Or even a couple of Tums (but not too many, I heard you can overdo it on Tums).

  13. My two year old wouldn’t stop eating the sand in his newly opened for the season sandbox yesterday. Maybe he’s pregnant? Hope your craving passes soon and thanks for the giggles at your expense.

  14. I totally craved our powered laundry detergent when pregnant with my second. Just one day it smelled SOOOOO good. And the texture was appealing too! Craziness.

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