Eating soil, Effects of eating soil during pregnancy

Eating soil, Effects of eating soil during pregnancy

Eating soil is also known as geophagy which is the terminology uses for the act. The act of eating soil is often related to lack of irons in the body and this is commonly seen among women who are pregnant. It is mainly the urge and craving that makes many of the pregnant women to long for soil. Looking at the world at large, geophagy has been practiced for over years now although the practices differ from country to country, It has however been noticed as a common trait among women especially those that are pregnant.

When you go to America in the rural south, you will realize that the habit of eating soil is mainly among the black women. The habit is said to have been taken to America by the slaves since it is a practice that was commonly done in the Sub Saharan Africa.

Pregnant women eat soil from kilts

It is rare that medical doctors will recommend the practice of eating soil, but it has also been found by nutritionists that eating soil actually has some health benefits attached to it. The binding effect of clay can cause it to absorb toxins according to expert nutritionists.

Researchers and medical personnel have gone ahead to study and find out whether the minerals within soil especially the clay are of importance mainly to the pregnant women. The soils may act as mineral supplements for the pregnant women. This is because the need and uptake for minerals greatly increases during pregnancy.

The mineral content in clay soils varies from one region to another and it may contain the following minerals, calcium, iron, magnesium and copper. These are very critical minerals during pregnancy although they are also very important and essential for the human diet.

Eating soil is not harmful unless it has been got from a dangerous place. Take an example of soil that has been contaminated by human waste or any kind of industrial chemicals.

Moulded clay soil

Why do pregnant women eat soil?

  • Pregnant women often eat soil as it soothes the morning sickness and also enhances the calcium and other minerals that are needed for baby development.
  • Clay soil also protects the stomach from any parasites within the gut for expectant women.
  • Pregnant women eat soil because they often lack iron when pregnant.African expectant mother

What are the effects of eating soil during pregnancy?

Effects of, eating soil during pregnancy

Some African tribes use clay as prevention against diarrhea. Taking an example of Uganda, to improve the anti malarial fighting ability of chimps, the chimps eat soil. The soil activates chemicals of leaves from   Trichilia rubescens, a plant that has one of the most preferred food items of the Ugandan chimps. The animals usually eat soil in cases of stress or while missing minerals.

The effects of eating soil during pregnancy may include the following which may be both positive and negative.

  • It may sound interesting but rather true at the same time, some women go ahead to eat lots of  big amounts of soil close to half a kilogram each day simply because they say that it helps to boost their appetite and health which will in turn result into giving birth to a healthy baby.
  • It is also important to note that the anthrax bacteria together with others stay for quite a long time in soil and usually the soil is only scotched.
  • Dysentery is another complication that pregnant women often complain about as long as they eat soil during their time of expectation.
  • Eating soil may reduce hunger among the pregnant women who eat it, but this may also cause them infection at the same time.
  • Eating soil may cause you constipation if you eat the clay type of soil. There is lots of kaolin in the white clay.
  • Pica is another general effect ( which is a psychological illness) that will cause you to crave for other substances that are not food
  • The body’s ability to absorb nutrients may be interfered by the action of eating soil which may actually cause a deficiency.

A blood test will help you prove whether you are mineral or just vitamin deficient.


  • Cindy Reply

    July 24, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    I am a Zimbabwean and most of the Zimbabwean women eat soil, preg and non preg.I also eat soil but im not preg.I try not to eat it but at the end of the day i go and buy the soil, im addicted.Even some men do eat the soil.

  • monica Reply

    November 16, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    Yoh I also eat soil n I’m pregnant…everytym I eat it i will develop pimples in my face, I try so hard to stop BT I CNT, I’m actually addicted

  • Tsedy Reply

    December 18, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    I’m also an addict of soil and I need help I stopped some time ago unfortunately im back at this situation again I even feel bored without eating soil.if someone notice that I am eating it I would insist that he or she should not judge me.

  • zodwa Reply

    March 21, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    hi am also eddicted in this habit .. nd now that am pregnant it seems to be worse than before but i h’vdone some check up nd come bk am not anemic so i wonder why i eat it

  • Nashy Reply

    April 2, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    am pregnant and I started eating soil at 7 months and now I can’t stop!

    • I I Reply

      September 3, 2018 at 12:05 am

      Did the baby come out fine and healthy without complications?

  • Bonolo Reply

    April 30, 2018 at 5:44 pm

    i eat soil since i was 12 years old and now i am 20 years and pregnant still i eat soil.
    Whaylt does this mean for me?

  • Nontokozo Reply

    May 29, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    Hi I’m 6 months pregnant and I started craving for soil 3 days ago, since last night my craving started getting worse I felt like I could get it right away unfortunately it was at night, but after reading what other ladies had experienced with eating soil i guess I just have to deal with my craving and not touch the soil at all. Thank you.

  • Happy Reply

    July 16, 2018 at 11:10 pm

    I started eating soil (red ochre in particular) about 9 months ago, m not pregnant, I just started craving it and feel embarrassed when the craving gets the best of me when m around people. I just cant stop even if people talk ill of the habit. I really wanna stop, m not happy at all since I used to scorn people who ate it before.

  • zetty Reply

    August 5, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    i tried many ways to stop eating soil but failed. i am addicted and eat about a kilogram daily if not more than that. every time i see an anthill i stop to take a snack. i even wake up couple of times at night to have it. i don’t know what to do. now that um pregnant its worse.

  • Tasneem Reply

    August 7, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    Hi…..Im tasneem m 9 month pregnant i started eating white clay at last month….Not i can’t stop….

  • Bongsipho mamba Reply

    September 2, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    we really need help girls it’s like soil is the staple food for pregnant women and its not healthy

  • Josephine Reply

    September 8, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    I am not pregnant and i do crave for clay soil at times but i want to if it’s harmful to conceive. I have craving it for some months ago

  • Hlomo Reply

    October 10, 2018 at 9:40 am

    Will eating soil affect the deliverance of the baby and also the baby’s health?

  • Bee Reply

    October 24, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    Hi I’m also pregnant and I eat soil, it started as cravings I would eat it once a day two months ago now it looks like um addicted couz I start my morning with it. I even bought 2 bags of soil now

  • Mama-Mali Reply

    November 4, 2018 at 10:29 pm

    I’m 7 months pregnant now and crave soil alot! The problem with where I stay is that there aren’t any places to actually get the soil, we used to eat soil when we were younger only because our older sisters ate it but back then there were spots where we get rich soil. Now there is literally no where to access soil, the soil I bought is clay and doesn’t really satisfy my craving. My colleagues gave judgy comments and even went as far as saying soil will cause complications with the pregnancy. The discouragement from my colleagues and the lack of actually getting good soil that I’m confident in consuming makes the craving more intense.


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