Is it safe to eat charcoal in pregnancy???

I am 30 weeks pregnant and have had no cravings except to eat the burned wood charcoal from the open fire in my living room! I have received very mixed responses to this with some people saying that its a no no and others saying that its actually good for you! Does anyone know whether it is harmful or not when pregnant? I asked my midwife and she just skirted round the issue, probably because, as is usually the case, she didnt have a clue! Any advice is appreciated.

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  • Cravings for non-foodstuffs are called pica, and are not that uncommon in pregnancy, but not something you want to give in to. Pica often seems to be associated with nutritional deficiency, especially iron deficiency anaemia, though it is not entirely clear whether the deficiency causes the craving, or whether filling up on stuff that isn't food causes the deficiency. Either way, I'm surprised your midwife wan't more concerned. Personally in your situation I'd make an apointment with your GP to see if he or she thinks you might need some sort of supplements you're not already on. Meanwhile, please don't eat charcoal. I don't know how much harm it'll do you, but it certainly won't do you any good. Finding room in your cramped stomach for all the vitamin and mineral-rich food you and your baby need is hard enough at 30 weeks without stuff that isn't food taking up valuable space and potentially blocking up your bowels. (I don't know about the lumps of coal in your fire, but the activated charcoal you get in pills in healthfood stores can be constipating, which is the last thing you need...)

  • Hi there, interesting one, cravings! I am from Africa and people there crave and eat a lot of things there in very small amounts including charcoal and edible grasshopers!.I personally would not recommend as I dont have any research base on it. I dont think even the GP would have an answer to it, but worth a try.

  • I don't know the answer to this question either . However I would be dubious about eating charcoal mainly because some wood has been chemically treated , and that would concern me . I hope you get some answers . X

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