A woman in New Zealand developed an ‘insatiable craving’ to eat washing powder after she fell pregnant with her second child.
Michaela Martin, 23, from Wanganui on New Zealand’s north island, said her unusual behaviour started in her third trimester when she noticed she had a desire to sniff laundry powder.
But, Ms Martin’s habit soon escalated and the young mother began tasting small amounts of the cleaning product by wetting her finger, dipping it in the powder and putting it in her mouth.
‘I chewed the grains between my teeth to kind of get the texture of the powder as well as the taste, and then would spit it out and rinse my mouth out straight away,’ she told The New Zealand Herald.
While the 23-year-old was ‘disappointed’ with the flavour of the yellow ‘Surf’ washing powder she first experimented with, she said the scent that filled her nose and mouth after chewing on the powder was what she really craved.
‘Even after trying it and knowing how disappointing the taste was when consuming it, I continued to crave it insatiably.’
She told the local news organisation that she had developed a particular penchant for tropical lily and ylang ylang-scented powder.
Ms Martin explained that she now cleans her teeth ‘numerous’ times a day because she also has a ‘weird’ fondness for toothpaste, but her changing sense of taste and smell did not stop there.
The young mother said she started to appreciate the smell of floor cleaners and dish washing liquid, but has not had the inclination to taste them – yet.
Interestingly, Ms Martin is not the first pregnant woman to develop abnormal food cravings.
When the 23-year-old posted a candid confession about her odd behaviour in a local mother’s group she was overwhelmed with responses from women who had also experienced a distinct change in their palate during pregnancy.
While they did not have any tips for Ms Martin to curb her unexpected cravings, she discovered she was dealing with the symptoms of a relatively unknown condition called pica.
According to Eating Disorders Victoria, pica causes people to develop a persistent craving for ‘non-nutritive substances’ and while it does not exclusively affect pregnant women, it is known to strike when a woman is expecting.
Some who have been diagnosed with the disorder have been known to crave dirt, clay, metal, paper, paint or even hair.
Ms Martin’s partner told her that he knew of a family member who consumed spoonfuls of washing powder, another with a hankering for the dirt at the bottom of a potato sack, The New Zealand Herald reported.
Health professionals warn that pica can be harmful if the substance the person chooses to eat contains ingredients that are toxic or not suitable for consumption.
Ms Martin, who did not experience pica during her first pregnancy, said she can’t wait for her obsession with eating washing powder to fade.
‘I can’t wait to give birth so I can go back to having a normal palate,’ she told The New Zealand Herald.
Source: Daily Mail