Is It Safe To Eat Cornstarch While Pregnant?

Pregnancy puts your body through a gauntlet of intense changes. Unpredictable mood swings, morning sickness, and swollen feet are some of the strange things you’ll experience as your baby goes. Many women report that pregnancy causes them to experience intense hunger cravings unlike they’ve ever had before. Sometimes, pregnancy can cause the urge to chow down on non-food items like dirt or clay. But, having a desire for non-food items can indicate vitamin deficiencies in your body, and consuming them can be extremely dangerous.

Have you been wanting to eat strange things like cornstarch but aren’t sure if it’s safe?

While cornstarch shouldn’t be consumed in its raw state, there aren’t any known health risks with consuming it during pregnancy.

If you’ve been having strange cravings during your pregnancy, here is more insight into why they happen, what they could mean, and how you can make healthy eating choices for yourself and your little one.

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How Much Cornstarch Can I Eat?

Having unorthodox cravings can put you in a strange state. On one hand, you may be wondering why you have the urge to eat nonsensical items, but on the other, you’re probably wondering how much of it you can eat before it becomes a problem.

In this regard, Eating cornstarch is no different from consuming other food items. Cornstarch is a common ingredient in many foods, and serves the purpose of giving some dishes extra body by thickening them. It can also serve as an alternative to flour for those with food sensitivities. But, cornstarch has no nutritional value by itself, and most health professionals advise against eating it in its raw form. Some people rely on cornstart

Although it’s not harmful If you’ve had a small amount of raw cornstarch, regular consumption can make you uncomfortable and cause gas, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation.

Why am I Craving Strange Things?

Believe it or not, having strange cravings during pregnancy is common. Some studies suggest that between 27 and 68 percent of pregnant women may experience symptoms of a little-known condition called pica disorder. Although the direct cause of Pica remains unknown, researchers theorize that it may be related to biological, chemical and cultural reasons. Nonetheless, Pica can cause pregnant women to desire non-food items such as

  • Dirt
  • Clay
  • Chalk
  • Baby powder
  • Paint chips
  • Ice
  • And many others.

What Happens if I Eat Non-Food Items?

The severity of outcomes you may experience from consuming non-food items can vary depending on what you eat. For instance, some items such as ice, are virtually harmless. But other items can have far-reaching consequences throughout the body. 

Consuming paint chips and other toxic items can cause lead-poisoning and can be deadly for you and your baby as whatever you consume is also what your baby consumes through the placenta, so it’s crucial to avoid dangerous items and substances.

If you consume hair, pebbles, or similar items, it can cause severe bowel obstructions, which are extremely dangerous. 

Diagnosing Pica

Consulting with your doctor is the best way to determine if the symptoms you’ve been experiencing are related to Pica. Your doctor can include a series of tests to confirm a diagnosis, which can include 

  • Testing for anemia
  • Examining the intestines
  • Examining for parasites
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG)
  • And others, depending on what you’ve ingested

Can Pica Go Away During Pregnancy?

While unusual cravings are most prevalent during the second trimester. Although there isn’t one test that can confirm a Pica diagnosis, some tests can help find the underlying causes for your body’s unnatural cravings.

 It’s crucial to keep your OB-GYN informed of all your symptoms as a critical step in the process, as they will be able to complete the necessary testing to find out what vitamins your body is missing and advise you on healthier alternatives to meet your nutritional needs. 

Informing your doctor right away can help with devising a necessary game plan for ensuring that your health doesn’t suffer. Pica symptoms may feel like they aren’t going anywhere, but rest assured as they  usually go away once you have your baby.

Does Eating Cornstarch Automatically Mean I Have Pica?

Strange cravings are a fairly common part of pregnancy. Desiring or eating cornstarch does not automatically mean that you have pica. Again, you may need an extensive battery of tests to confirm a pica diagnosis.

If anything, eating cornstarch may mean that your body is deficient in iron and zinc and uses cornstarch cravings as a means to address the issue. 

Additional Help

Sometimes taking additional supplements to deal with pica may not bring complete relief from symptoms. But there is a surprising way to help you deal with unusual cravings and help you avoid eating dangerous items. Many experts believe that keeping chewing gum nearby can help you deal with the cravings. 

When you start feeling the cravings, chewing gum can help distract your mind from the unwanted desire of non-food items. Using this tactic is common for lifelong smokers who want to quit but need extra help in doing so. 

Also, some professionals recommend engaging in distracting activities to separate yourself from potential triggers. These can include

  • Reading
  • Keeping a journal
  • Taking a walk
  • Drawing
  • Any other healthy activity you find calming

The Final Word on Cornstarch

Using cornstarch for its intended purpose of providing additional body to dishes isn’t harmful. In fact, cornstarch can provide your body with extra calories, an essential part of helping your baby develop. But cornstarch provides you no benefits outside of boosting your caloric intake. Over-indulging on cornstarch and consuming non-food items can have adverse effects on your health and do your body harm in the long run.

While consuming non-food items can be problematic, it is essential to identify the cause as to why your body has these cravings. Mentioning your concerns to your doctor can help get the correct strategy in place to not only help you avoid dangerous items, but address any nutritional causes behind your cravings. For now, make sure that you use your cornstarch as an extra ingredient in your dishes, and not as a main course.

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