Chewing ice can be listed as one of the unusual food cravings during pregnancy. Have you found yourself craving ice suddenly? According to some research, one of five pregnant women loves to eat ice cubes. No worries, this quirky habit will disappear after delivery. The question is, is it safe?

Is it normal during pregnancy?

Chewing ice can be said as “pagophagia” in technically speaking. You may develop this habit when you are expecting due to hormonal change. Normally eating ice will not warm to the human body, but it may cause teeth decay or can be a sign of anemia.

Why have you formed this habit unknowingly?

Pagophagia of pregnant women may have an eating disorder called pica, in medical terms. When you develop pica, you may crave non-food items like chalk, clay, paper, dirt and etc. Both children and expecting women usually experience this. As pica is usually linked to the lack of iron, you should pay attention to anemia during pregnancy.

5 reasons that you might be craving ice cubes

  1. Morning sickness
    Since most pregnant women may suffer from morning sickness at the first trimester, chewing on ice is a way to stay hydrated and calm them with the discomfort. Also, as ice is odourless, it may not cause nausea easily compared to other foods.

    Another alternative way to ease uncomfortable symtoms during pregnancy is using certain essential oils. Lavender, frankincense and geranium oil can ease belly upset and are good essential oils for morning sickness. Choose a belly oil blend that helps settle nausea and soothe the belly skin during pregnancy.
  2. Iron deficiency
    Till now, the underlying reasons between iron deficiency and pica remain unclear. In some research, taking iron supplements can lower ice cravings and relieve pica symptoms. Talk to your doctor first about anemia. If you are diagnosed with iron deficiency, doctors may advise you to take a B12 vitamin supplement. Otherwise, you can eat more iron-rich food like red meat, seafood, and dark leafy vegetables. Please make sure all meats are cooked. Treat your anemia as soon as possible to lower the risk of getting premature birth or low birth weight.
  3. Hot weather
    Your body temperature may go up when you are pregnant. What’s more, the temperature is over 33 degrees outside. At this time, you may love to suck on ice cubes to cool down your body, quench thirst, and moisture your dry lips.
  4. Heartburn
    Heartburn, a common side effect of pregnancy, can cause unpleasant feelings especially when you enter the last trimester. Crunching ice cubes is a natural remedy which makes you better and more efficient.
  5. Emotional stress
    Chewing ice can be a soothing way when you are under pressure during pregnancy. It can be said as a sign of emotional problems. When you notice you may feel stressed and have pagophagia, talk with your partner, and seek solutions to relax.

What are the side effects of eating ice cubes?

A little ice crunching won’t hurt pregnant women. Don’t eat too much as it may cause dental issues and sore throat. As human teeth are created to eat something softer, eating too many ice cubes can cause damage to your teeth enamel and you will be more sensitive to hot and cold food in the future.

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