Pregnant teens have a high risk for pica, a craving and intentional consumption of non-food stuffs, such as vacuum dust, soap, baby powder, ice, and cornstarch. Researchers at Cornell’s College of Human Ecology studied 158 pregnant teens and their risk for pica. Of the almost 47% who reported pica behaviors, most, or about 82%, craved ice, followed by starches, powders, soap, paper, plastic foam, baking soda, and more. When they craved ice, they consumed cups and cups of it. Those teens experiencing pica were at high risk for iron deficiency compared to teens who did not eat nonfood items. Pica behaviors and iron deficiency also increased over the course of the pregnancies.
Lumish R, Young S, Lee S, et al: Gestational iron deficiency is associated with pica behaviors in adolescents. Journal of Nutrition 2014;August 13th.