Corn starch is a go-to ingredient when it comes to making soups, stews, sauces, desserts, baked goods and even crispy veggies. While 1-2 tablespoons of corn starch in a recipe once in a while is okay to consume for an expecting mom or her baby, too much of it raises red flags. Corn starch is high in calories and carbohydrates, but devoid of other essential nutrients like proteins, vitamins, minerals and fiber. With a high glycemic index and little to no dietary fiber, corn starch causes cholesterol and blood sugar levels to rise which can affect developmental milestones of the baby.
Also, craving non-food items, specifically cornstarch, clay or ice may be a sign of a rare condition in pregnancy known as ‘pica’. It’s name comes from the bird Magpie who is infamous for literally eating anything. While pica usually occurs in children and is a rare phenomenon in pregnant women, it can interfere with the nutritional needs of the expecting mother and her baby. Consuming too much corn starch can dangerously elevate an expecting mother’s blood sugar levels, cholesterol, lower her potassium levels, increase risk of heart disease, affect development of foetus, cause preterm delivery and a high birth weight of the baby. The Journal of American Dietetic Association says pica may be a sign of iron deficiency in an expecting mother and the body’s way of getting essential vitamins and minerals. Food cravings during pregnancy are normal, but craving non-food items should be reported to a doctor. It is best to talk to your doctor about foods safe to consume during pregnancy.