Pregnant woman’s ‘insatiable craving’ for washing powder

Michaela Martin suffers from pica – a craving for non-food


Whether it’s Marmite on digestive biscuits or hot wings from Nandos, pregnancy cravings can get a bit out of hand. But spare a thought for Michaela Martin from New Zealand who’s suffering from pica – a non-food craving.


The 23-year-old has “insatiable cravings” for washing powder – her favourite is tropical lily and ylang ylang-scented Surf.

Michaela’s cravings started just before she entered her third trimester. “It started as just simply smelling laundry powder when I did the laundry throughout the week,” she told the New Zealand Herald. “As the weeks went on, before I knew it I had my nose inside a laundry powder box every time I walked past the laundry room.”

Eventually, she began wetting her finger, dipping it in the box and putting it in her mouth to taste the detergent. “I chewed the grains between my teeth to kind of get the texture of the powder as well as the taste, and then would spit it out and rinse my mouth out straight away,” she said. “I ate the yellow Surf washing powder first and it was not how my pregnant mind had imagined it tasting in my head … although even after trying it and knowing how disappointing the taste was when consuming it, I continued to crave it insatiably.”

Although she didn’t like the taste, Michaela loved the smell it left in her mouth. Soon, her partner had to keep her away from the cleaning product aisle at the supermarket “otherwise I literally stand there and just want to smell the different washing powders”.

Now, she can’t wait to give birth to “go back to having a normal palate.”

The mum-of-1 didn’t experience pica in her first pregnancy and admits “it’s honestly so weird”.

Lesley Dixon from the New Zealand College of Midwives said that pica cravings occur both in pregnant and non-pregnant women, and is “relatively uncommon”. “People talk about people they know who craved clay or dirt … that sort of thing,” she said.

Did you have any cravings in pregnancy? Let us know in the comments below.

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