Baby powder is often used to treat diaper rash, as a deodorant and in cosmetic products. It is an astringent powder, typically consisting of either talcum or, in recent years, cornstarch. Pregnant women sometimes experience symptoms of pica, a condition that causes cravings for non-food items. One non-food item pregnant women might find themselves craving is baby powder. While the exact cause of these cravings is not verified, it is suspected that the body is attempting to compensate for a nutrient deficiency. Those who are not pregnant might experience cravings for baby powder as well. Some become addicted to it and eat baby powder on a daily basis. Craving baby powder might be a sign of an iron or vitamin D deficiency.
Pica describes a disorder that causes your body to crave items and substances with no nutritional value. The most common cravings are for dirt and chalk. According to Dr. Glenn Tisman, 25 to 33 percent of all pica cases involve small children, 20 percent involve pregnant women and 10 to 15 percent involve individuals with learning disabilities. A small percentage of those affected have an iron or vitamin D deficiency. Indulging in pica cravings can be harmful to your body, and if you are pregnant, your baby.
Iron is a vital mineral for the human body and plays an important role in several cell functions. Iron deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies and is the leading cause of anemia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those who suffer from anemia do not have adequate levels of red blood cells. Iron deficiency is most commonly caused by an increased need of iron, such as occurs during a growth spurt or pregnancy, or a sudden decrease of iron in the diet. Symptoms of an iron deficiency include weakness, tiredness, difficulty maintaining body temperature, decreased immune function and a swollen tongue. Dietary sources of iron include oysters, clams, fortified cereals, liver, soybeans, white beans, lentils, spinach, red meat and many others. If you have a craving for baby powder, you might not have enough iron in your diet.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D, found in dietary sources including fortified milk, eggs, fish and cod liver oil, is vital for normal function of the human body. According to Dr. Oz, those suffering from cravings or addiction to baby powder might be suffering from a vitamin D deficiency. It can cause weak bones and muscles and contribute to a fatigued feeling. Exposure to sunlight triggers synthesis of vitamin D; those who receive little to no sunlight are at an increased risk of a deficiency. If you crave baby powder, you might be suffering from a deficiency in vitamin D. However, this cause is not as likely as an iron deficiency.
If you experience a craving for baby powder, you should consult a health care professional. If you consume baby powder on a regular basis, get help immediately as the addiction is harmful to your body. You should undergo blood tests to determine if you suffer from a deficiency and work with a physician to determine its cause. Once you have located the cause of your cravings, a health care professional can determine how to remedy it. You should not seek excess sun exposure to remedy a vitamin D deficiency, nor overeat for an iron deficiency.
- Healthy Body Daily: Pica: World’s Weirdest Eating Disorder
- Journal of Medical Case Reports: Pica in Iron Deficiency
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Iron and Iron Deficiency
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: Anemia
- Office of Dietary Supplements: National Institutes of Health: Vitamin D
- MayoClinic.com: Vitamin D
- Baby Center: Expert Answers: Is it Safe to Use Baby Powder on My Baby?
- American Pregnancy Association: Pregnancy and Pica: Non-Food Cravings
- Pregnancy.org: Cravings: Want to Eat Baby Powder