A mum has told how an unusual medical condition made her crave the smell, taste and feel of bleach during her pregnancy.
Natalie Cruz, 21, was six months pregnant when she noticed she was becoming addicted to cleaning videos on TikTok.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Woman craves bleach during pregnancy.
For more Pregnancy & Births related news and videos check out Pregnancy & Births >>
#CleanTok is a viral hashtag for deep-cleaning videos and hacks, and Natalie realised she loved the sound of powdered bleach being shaken in its packaging.
She says she soon craved the smell and taste – and even heard the sound of the cleaning product being shaken in her dreams.
But she said in a TikTok comment that – although she craved the smell, feel and taste of powdered bleach – she never actually ingested any.
The insurance specialist was diagnosed with pica, an eating disorder where a person consumes things which aren’t food – even though she didn’t ingest the bleach.
“Six months into my pregnancy, I got lost on the cleaning side of TikTok,” said Natalie, from Atlanta in the US state of Georgia.
“I kept finding the sound of powdered bleach so satisfying.
“It was a sound that wouldn’t leave me alone – I could even hear it in my dreams.
“So I bought three cans of powdered bleach, and instantly just wanted to feel it and smell it.
“I consulted my doctor beforehand, who said as long as I’m not ingesting the bleach – and only smelling it once or twice – it wouldn’t affect my health or my baby’s.”
Despite the desire to touch, sniff and taste bleach, Natalie wasn’t alarmed by her unconventional cravings.
It wasn’t long until she found out they had a name.
“It sounds bad, but I first discovered pica on TikTok,” she said.
“I was watching pregnant women experiencing weird food cravings, and my doctor said it was probably what I was going through.”
Pica is traditionally understood as an eating disorder.
It typically involves “eating non-nutritive, non-food substances over a period of at least one month”, according to the American Psychiatric Association.
Natalie wants people to understand that just because she didn’t actually eat any bleach, doesn’t mean she isn’t suffering from pica.
“My doctor explained to me that I do have pica, despite not actually eating any inedible objects,” she said.
“Obviously I’m not going to eat bleach, but I still craved it.”
“While I only smelt and touched the bleach a couple of times, I loved the #CleanTok videos so much, I even watched them during labour to relax me.
“I wasn’t worried it would harm myself or the baby, because I didn’t ever eat any.”
She posted on TikTok about her cravings and went viral.
“People always have something negative to say in the TikTok comments – they’re all about invalidating and discrediting women and our medical histories,” she said.
The cravings disappeared when Ayaan was born in June.
For more engaging lifestyle content, visit 7Life on Facebook.
If you’d like to view this content, please adjust your .