While most pregnant women may crave pickles and ice cream, all this woman from London wanted to do was eat clay.
Dymund Dina, 31, started craving clay during her first pregnancy with her son in 2013 and has since spent more than $3,800 (£3,000) on the sedimentary snack.
“When I was pregnant I ate ten bags a day, it was such a strong urge,” Dymund told South West News Service. “Each bag weighs about two grams.”
“I still can’t get enough and I eat clay every day, and I’m not even pregnant anymore!”
However, the type of clay Dymund likes to eat is completely edible, and she claimed it even helped reduce her morning sickness.
The clay is called mabele, an edible clay that comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo and other neighboring countries, according to Alowa Foods.
The clay is sometimes used traditionally during pregnancy and is said to help prevent nausea and vomiting. It can also be used to help stomach upsets, purify water and improve skin, according to Alowa Foods.
“Mabele has a really special smell, and when I was pregnant I was obsessed with it,” Dymund explained.
“It smells like cool summer rain – that’s the only way I can describe it.”
Dymund, who works as a content creator, explained that she started craving clay after sniffing and smelling laundry detergent.
During the first weeks of her pregnancy, Dymund suffered from nausea and morning sickness and felt too sick to eat anything.
But when she was 12 weeks old, she found herself craving clay and as she entered her second trimester, Dymund discovered that it really helped her with her nausea, in addition to eating ice cream.
And it looks like Dymund isn’t the only pregnant woman to have cravings for clay, according to Healthline — it’s a phenomenon, called pica, that happens to many.
Pica is “the practice of craving for substances with little or no nutritional value,” according to American Pregnancy, and while it’s unclear exactly why it happens, craving can sometimes be linked to iron deficiencies.
During her first pregnancy, Dymund started buying the clay from local stores in her area who imported it from the Democratic Republic of Congo, but she bought so much that the stores sometimes ran out of stock, leaving her partner, Jay King, 38, to drive around town just to find some.
“Sometimes Jay had to travel over an hour to get me some,” Dymund said.
“He absolutely hates the smell and doesn’t understand why I like it so much.”
Once, Dymund was so desperate to get her fix that she asked her cousin, Naomi Mpia, 29, who lives in France, to send her some.
However, the use of mabele in her family is nothing new. Dymund said his mother, Odette, also ate it during her pregnancy, so she was always aware of it.
Over the past few years, Dymund has had three more pregnancies and four more children – twins, Kai and Kylee, seven, Keziah, five, and Kiana, one.
The content creator estimates that she spent about $1,000 on clay during each of her pregnancies, and almost $4,000 in total on cravings over the past ten years.
And, throughout her pregnancies, the craving for clay did not dissipate. In fact, she continues to eat it today, despite no longer being pregnant, and describes her fondness for clay as an “addiction”.
“I’m obsessed with taste and texture, I can’t get enough of it,” Dymund told SWNS. “I only like mabele with a salty taste. If I buy some that are not salty, I have to go out and find some more.
“Even talking about it makes my mouth water.”