Pica and Eating Attitudes: A Study of High-Risk Pregnancies.Matern Child Health J. 2016 Mar; 20(3):577-82.MC
To describe and determine the association between the occurrence of pica and eating attitudes in women with high-risk pregnancies and to determine the prevalence of pica during pregnancy.
A cross-sectional and prospective 24-month study was conducted with 913 women with high-risk pregnancies. Structured interviews were carried out and the Eating Attitudes Test was applied.
Pica was diagnosed in 5.7 % of the pregnant women, and its most commonly practiced type was geophagia (57.7 %). The association between pica and signs related to the eating attitudes: "to be considered too thin by others" (p < 0.02), and "to spend too much time thinking about food" (p = 0.05); and the association between pica and the risk of both anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa (p < 0.01) were statistically significant.
The absence of validated instruments in the literature for assessing pica reinforces the difficulty of investigating this practice and the need for further studies. Moreover, additional efforts need to focus in the improvement of screening for other eating disorders with obstetric consequences associated with pica and be incorporated into the routine of healthcare professionals.