Many first-time mothers ask, “Is it safe to eat cornstarch during pregnancy?” It’s a common question among pregnant women.
The answer is no. Eating raw cornstarch can put your health at risk during pregnancy. However, if cooked, eating cornstarch while pregnant is generally safe and has no known negative effects if consumed in moderation.
Excessive consumption of cornstarch, or any starch product, may lead to indigestion and other gastrointestinal problems that can be harmful during pregnancy.
In this guide, we will debunk the myths surrounding the connection between pregnancy and cornstarch. We’ll also discuss its side effects, the risk of developing an eating disorder, and how to take care of yourself and your baby. But before we dive deep into this topic, let’s first clarify some things about cornstarch.
How Much Cornstarch Can I Eat?
If you’ve been experiencing unusual cravings during your pregnancy, you may be wondering how much of a certain food item you can consume before it becomes problematic. In this regard, consuming cornstarch is no different from consuming other food items. While it is a common ingredient in many dishes, it has no nutritional value by itself and should not be consumed in its raw form.
Although eating small amounts of raw cornstarch is not harmful, regular consumption can cause discomfort and lead to gas, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. Therefore, it’s best to consume cornstarch in moderation.
Why Do I Crave Strange Things During Pregnancy?
Experiencing unusual cravings during pregnancy is common, with some studies suggesting that between 27 and 68 percent of pregnant women may experience symptoms of a little-known condition called pica disorder. The direct cause of pica remains unknown, but researchers believe that biological, chemical, and cultural factors may play a role.
Pica can cause pregnant women to crave non-food items such as dirt, clay, chalk, baby powder, paint chips, ice, and more. However, consuming these items can have far-reaching consequences throughout the body. It’s important to avoid dangerous items and substances as they can cause lead-poisoning and severe bowel obstructions.
In our recent article, we covered the topic of Can Pregnant Ladies Eat Truffles? Safe Consumption Guidelines
What Happens If I Eat Non-Food Items?
The severity of outcomes from consuming non-food items can vary depending on what you eat. Consuming toxic items like paint chips can cause lead-poisoning and be deadly for both you and your baby. Consuming hair, pebbles, or similar items can cause severe bowel obstructions which are extremely dangerous.
If you’re experiencing unusual cravings during your pregnancy, it’s best to consult with your doctor to determine if they are related to pica disorder. Your doctor may conduct a series of tests to confirm a diagnosis, including testing for anaemia, examining the intestines for parasites, electrocardiogram (EKG), and others depending on what you’ve ingested.
Excessive consumption of cornstarch can lead to digestive issues such as constipation, bloating, and digestive pain. According to the Manhattan Gastroenterology, consuming large amounts of corn can also cause gastrointestinal symptoms.
This is because corn has a high concentration of cellulose, which cannot be broken down by the human digestive system. Therefore, consuming excessive quantities of cornstarch or corn can potentially induce serious gastrointestinal problems.
Can Pica Go Away During Pregnancy?
While unusual cravings are most prevalent during the second trimester, they usually go away once you have your baby. However, it’s crucial to keep your OB-GYN informed of all your symptoms as they will be able to complete the necessary testing to identify any vitamin deficiencies in your body and advise you on healthier alternatives to meet your nutritional needs.
Does Eating Cornstarch Automatically Mean I Have Pica?
Desiring or eating cornstarch does not automatically mean that you have pica disorder. Eating cornstarch may indicate that your body is deficient in iron and zinc and uses cornstarch cravings as a means to address the issue. However, if you’re concerned about your unusual cravings, it’s best to consult with your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
Chewing gum can help distract your mind from unwanted cravings for non-food items like dirt or clay. Engaging in distracting activities such as reading, journaling, taking walks, or drawing can also help separate you from potential triggers.
The Final Word on Cornstarch
Cornstarch is safe to consume in moderation during pregnancy when cooked properly. Over-indulging on cornstarch or consuming non-food items can have adverse effects on your health and do your body harm in the long run. Identifying the cause behind your unusual cravings is essential to help you avoid dangerous items and address any nutritional deficiencies behind them.