Why Do You Crave Ice During Pregnancy?
The truth is that we don’t know exactly why so many people crave ice during pregnancy, but many people develop pagophagia when they become deficient in iron. And, as you may already know, iron deficiency anemia is very common in pregnancy (up to 25% of people become anemic at some point in their pregnancy).
Anemia in Pregnancy
Ok, But... Why Ice??
Theory number one: Ice is stimulating, which people with anemia crave because one of their most common symptoms is fatigue. There is a phenomenon called the “dive reflex,” in which blood is shunted away from your outer body and toward your brain and heart when your face is hit with cold water (this may explain the invigorating effects of a “polar bear plunge”). More water to the brain means more alertness and mental energy.
Theory number three: Being anemic can cause stress, which can trigger compulsive behavior. This may be the most underdeveloped of the current theories on pagophagia in pregnancy: essentially saying that eating ice during pregnancy is a form of addiction. While it’s true that some people do develop addictive behavior around ice eating in pregnancy (such as attempting and being unable to stop, feeling anxious when they don’t have access to ice, etc), the majority of people are able to stop or cut down on ice eating when they are get their iron back up to normal levels.