Eating Cornstarch While Pregnant (Risk Factors and Things To Know About Pica Syndrome)

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Eating or craving raw cornstarch when pregnant is a symptom of pica disorder. It could be that you’re lacking essential vitamins and minerals such as iron and zinc. Some pregnant women may also develop pica disorder due to their cultural beliefs. Raw cornstarch may be safe to consume in small amounts but can mess up your blood sugar levels, heart health, and digestive tract.

Pregnancy can result in a multitude of changes in your body. You’ll experience intense mood swings, swollen feet and ankles, lumpy breasts, weight gain, and many other things.

Your body normally undergoes these changes as it prepares to support your baby.

Along with these changes, many women have also noticed having unusual hunger cravings and desires for nonfood items.

Is it okay to eat cornstarch?

Cornstarch has high calories and carbohydrates but contains low protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. 

It’s a common food ingredient that adds thickness to your soups, stews, and sauces.

Cornstarch is also an important recipe for pie fillings, baked goodies, and other fried and crispy dishes. In addition, eating raw cornstarch keeps hunger and cravings at bay for some people. 

You may also have heard that it helps manage blood sugar problems and diabetes, but raw cornstarch isn’t that healthy. 

Most doctors don’t recommend eating raw cornstarch because of its low nutritional value and high glycemic index, which may cause your blood sugar to spike. Eating it raw may also result in gas and bloating. 

Consuming raw cornstarch in small amounts may not be harmful, but regular consumption can negatively affect your body. 

What happens when you eat cornstarch?

Cornstarch is a good ingredient to add to your dishes, especially when you want to increase your caloric intake. It’s inexpensive and doesn’t change the flavor of your soups, stews, broth, and desserts. 

When you eat cornstarch, your body can digest it quickly, which causes your blood sugar to spike up right after eating it. 

So, unlike whole-grain foods, cornstarch doesn’t keep your blood sugar stable nor give you prolonged energy. 

Most people only use about 1-2 tablespoons (8-16 grams) of cornstarch to add to their soups and sauces.

Consuming cornstarch while pregnant is generally safe. However, cornstarch has its downsides.

Below are the following:

1. May increase blood sugar levels

A pregnant woman is taking a blood sugar test to see if her current sugar levels are too high.

Because cornstarch is considered a refined carb with very low fiber content, which means it has a high glycemic index, so your body will quickly digest this food.

It may spike your blood sugar levels.

2. May increase the risk of heart disease

Many studies have shown that regular consumption of refined carbs may harm your heart health. 

A diet rich in refined carbs and foods with a high glycemic index may increase your risk of high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes

3. Little essential nutrients

Cornstarch doesn’t provide healthy amounts of nutrients other than calories and carbohydrates. 

Even large amounts of it only provide very small amounts of micronutrients

So, it’s very important to pair this ingredient with other nutrient-based food to achieve a healthy balanced diet.

4. Digestive problems

Raw cornstarch may cause unpleasant digestive problems such as gas, bloating, and constipation. It may also result in abdominal pain

A pregnant woman is laying down and having digestive problems as a result of consuming raw cornstarch

That’s why cooking or heating cornstarch may help it break down for easier digestion.

Consider only eating cornstarch when cooked to avoid harboring harmful bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses.

What is pica disorder?

Having odd cravings during your pregnancy, like wanting to eat raw cornstarch? 

You might have a condition called pica disorder. It’s when you continuously crave and chow down on nonfood items. It can be diagnosed when symptoms last for about a month. 

Believe it or not, it happens and is common in pregnant women. 

Below are examples of nonfood items that most pregnant women with pica disorder crave for:

  • Ice
  • Paper
  • Clay
  • Dirt
  • Metal
  • Pebbles
  • Soap
  • Chalk
  • Baby powder
  • Ash
  • Cornstarch
  • Uncooked rice or grains
  • And many others

Some study suggests that pica disorder is linked to iron deficiency and anemia. It can occur in any stage of pregnancy but commonly affect most women during their first trimester. 

A possible reason why you may develop this disorder is that you’re getting inadequate amounts of essential nutrients. 

If you have iron and zinc deficiency, you’re at risk of developing pica. 

In other cases, women exposed to eating nonfood items due to their cultural beliefs will also most likely develop it. 

Remember that you should talk to your doctor when you’ve been craving or eating nonfood items to address the issue immediately. 

While pica disorder may pose much threat to your baby, chowing down nonfood items may make you ill or, even worse, give you other health complications.

These include infections, stomach irritation, a blockage in your digestive tract, vomiting, and weight loss. 

What can cornstarch do to your baby?

Consuming cornstarch to satisfy your odd cravings while pregnant may not be harmful, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely safe. You can still be susceptible to a foodborne illness. 

Remember to check with your doctor immediately when you crave nonfood items during your pregnancy.

Also, ensure you’re chowing down on food-grade quality and small amounts to avoid possible complications. 

You must know that whatever you eat will provide nutrition for your baby.

As much as possible, don’t chow down on raw cornstarch. Instead, only use it as an ingredient to include your recipes.

FAQs

Does cornstarch cause yeast infections?

No, it doesn’t. Researchers have found out that cornstarch doesn’t cause nor worsen yeast growth.

There are already sufficient nutrients in our skin that are favorable for yeast growth, provided there is enough moisture.

Does cornstarch help yeast infections?

No, it doesn’t help with yeast infections. Talcum powder won’t help too.

Taking probiotics, doing saltwater rinses, applying coconut or tea tree oil, and taking antifungal medications are effective ways to treat yeast infections.

Is starch suitable for babies?

Starchy foods provide energy for babies as they are essentially carbohydrates.

It helps babies to feel fuller for much longer. But doctors don’t recommend feeding your infants starchy foods for quite some time as they can be hard to digest.

It’s not until after 6 months that you can start your baby feeding solid and/or starchy food with, of course, consultation from his pediatrician. 

Is cornstarch powder good for babies?

Yes, it’s safe for babies if you use it with care to avoid choking from inhaling the powder. You can use cornstarch as a safe alternative to talcum powder to keep your baby’s skin dry, clean, and comfortable. 

Can you feed cornstarch to your baby?

Don’t feed raw cornstarch to your baby, as they might be unable to digest it. But, it’s generally safe to include it in their meals, given that it also contains other nutrient-dense ingredients.

Don’t only feed cornstarch-based food to your baby, as it may lead to malnutrition.

Additionally, if your family has a history of allergies to corn or cornstarch, it’s better not to feed this to your baby.

Conclusion

Cornstarch is indeed a staple for every soup and fried recipe. It adds thickness and creaminess that makes our meals appetizing and savory. 

Some pregnant women may crave raw cornstarch, which is generally safe when consumed in small amounts. But such nonfood cravings are a sign of pica disorder which could develop due to iron and zinc deficiency.

Moreover, it’s important to avoid eating raw cornstarch because it’s not nutritious and may put you at risk of harboring foodborne illnesses or digestive problems. 

Please check with your doctor immediately if you experience having nonfood cravings.

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