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Sponges, chalk and coal: Eight strange pregnancy cravings

You are both excited about the arrival of your new baby and everything is going well, however you can’t stop looking at that coal and wondering what it would be like to eat it. Or maybe it is chalk, ice or soap. Many women have cravings for food while expecting but some experience very weird cravings which are not healthy or even edible! We take a look at the top eight weird cravings and why they occur.

Pregnant woman on her side


Many mums-to-be crave ice cubes while they are pregnant and like to either suck on or crunch them. There is some research suggesting that iron-deficiency anaemia is associated with a craving for ice, and that treating the anaemia can lessen ice consumption. Ice is a harmless craving so it is fine to indulge until your craving passes. However, you should visit your doctor to find out if there is a root cause for it.


Although very odd, a craving for coal can be a symptom of an iron deficiency and should be reported straight away to your doctor. It is also a craving which should not be fulfilled as coal can be harmful to your body, especially if eaten in large amounts. Usually, if the deficiency is corrected, your craving should disappear.


Many expectant mums crave the smell of rubber and find tyres and rubber bands very appetising. It is not advised to eat anything containing rubber, however, many mums found chewing rubber bands dulled the craving somewhat. Again this can be a sign of an iron deficiency and should be checked out by your GP.


This is one of the most unusual pregnancy cravings but it does happen. Some women will look longingly at a field or pavement and crave the dirt or mud they can see. Obviously this is not a craving you can give in to but it shouldn’t worry you either as it is a symptom of pregnancy. A milder form can occur when women crave the dirt of root vegetables like carrots and parsnips.


This is one of the more pleasant cravings, however this doesn’t mean you can sit and eat a tube while watching the television. Women suffering from this craving may feel the urge to eat or swallow the toothpaste while brushing their teeth and while there are no proven side effects, it is not a food and should be avoided.

Laundry detergent

Laundry detergent is up there with soap as one of the most unpleasant tasting items, however that doesn’t stop pregnant women being attracted to the smell and taste. However, detergent, along with many household items, is an unnatural chemical substance which could harm both mother and baby if digested.


Chalk, along with talcum powder, is another common inedible craving that shouldn’t be eaten. They are normally a sign of a nutritional deficiency so rather than give in, go and see your doctor. After the deficiency is taken care of your craving should disappear.


If you thought chalk and toothpaste were weird, have a thought for the women who can’t stop thinking about sponges. Whether they are covered in suds or not, some women find them irresistible and can think of nothing better than a sponge for breakfast. However, again, this can mean there is an imbalance in the body which needs to be checked out by the doctor.

More on pregnancy

Preparing your body for pregnancy
7 Signs you may be pregnant
5 Morning sickness cures

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