Expectant Mom Who Eats Furniture Polish Should Be Locked Up


pregnant silhouetteWarning: This story will make you sick to your stomach in more ways than one. Even if they're kind of gross, bizarre pregnancy cravings usually aren't dangerous. Not so for British mom-to-be Emma Veness, who's so obsessed with eating furniture polish -- yup, the kind you spray on the coffee table -- that she eats up to three cans of the highly toxic stuff every day. In fact, she's been scarfing polish for almost the entire seven months of her pregnancy so far, and though she knows she could be hurting her unborn baby, she can't stop herself.

Okay, so here's an idea: Somebody else stop her! Hello?!?

Apparently when Veness went to her doctor with the problem, she was diagnosed with Pica, a medical disorder that compels people to eat non-food items such as metal, clay, coal, batteries -- you name it. Pica is most common in pregnant women and children, but very little research has been done on the condition; some experts say it's caused by severe mineral deficiencies, others think it's a mental illness, perhaps a variation of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

I get that Pica is still something of a medical mystery, but there are ways to treat the illness ... and Veness is NOT being treated! She's being left to her own developmentally-damaging devices!! WHY?? Pica patients are usually screened for mineral deficiencies and treated accordingly; if no physical problems are found, anti-depressants have been successful (and the pills are sure as hell a lot less potentially harmful than furniture polish). Why did Veness get sent home with nothing but the suggestion to "eat a chocolate bar"?

If drinking and smoking when you're pregnant can hurt the baby, I don't even want to think about the birth defects heavy consumption of cleaning supplies could cause. I would think that, at this point, Veness could be accused of child endangerment. She's seven months along; there's no question that the baby will be carried to term. Who's standing up for this child's rights?

As I said, doctors don't fully understand Pica, so I definitely don't, and as such I can't say if Veness is capable of controlling herself or not. But if she appears truly to have no control, shouldn't she be hospitalized and under observation for the rest of her pregnancy?

What do you think should be done about Emma Veness and her polish-eating problem?


Image via spaceodissey/Flickr

cravings, is it normal, pregnancy health


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kaos2 kaos2

It sounds like she needs to go to another doctor.  I am not sure what else can be done. I don't know why they didn't see what mineral she is not getting.

elfis... elfishpirat

Locked up? That's a bit extreme, dear. I agree with kaos2, she needs a second opinion.

becky... beckygeiger

she needs iron, iron deficiency causes pica

starr... starrsitter

Wheee!  Slippery slope!

There are a ridiculous number of things that women do that are potentially dangerous while they're pregnant.  Are we next going to revoke the driver's license of any woman who is gestating?  Make the purchase of deli meat a crime?  Ban caffeine?  Considering the toxins in the air anymore, even breathing could be off the table...maybe a bubble?  And just how do we enforce this when many women don't know immediately that they are pregnant?  I guess we'll have to monitor the cycle of every woman of childbearing age  and lock them up as soon as the become pregnant so as to avoid their exposure to anything which could harm the zygote/embryo/fetus...because that is *much* more important than the woman's autonomy.

Of course, this is an exaggeration...but it's very easy for well-intentioned measures to spiral out of control to the point where real people aren't allowed to make decisions for themselves.  Advocating for the incarceration of a woman who is doing something that could negatively impact her fetus is dangerous.

Zamaria Zamaria

Well I don't think she should be locked up. I think her doctor should be doing more to help her, and that if she is just now telling her doctor about the problem she definately should have mentioned it earlier! There are solutions for this! I have two sisters-in-law who craved hair mousse. They ate toilet paper instead to help control the cravings, and took iron pills. Toilet paper is weird, but it worked and they weren't eating tons of chemicals that way. But locking her up? No. Get her some help.

Elizabeth J. Robinson

As someone who had a mild form of Pica, if you have never had it you don't understand. Your logical side *well, at least mine* told me not to do it (which, I never did) but it was extremely hard for me not to.

Why doesn't someone else just purchase her items, and leave out the polish? Then again,  it would just go to another item. 

(for the record, I craved eatting makeup.)

Melis... Melissa042807

I agree that she should find herself another doctor! That first doctor is an idiot.

Jess Townsend

I feel sorry for that poor woman. Pica goes beyond craving. she honestly can't help it. She needs to see another doctor most definitely but not locked up. 

laven... lavendaar

who knows what should be done.  she should be helped, but we have to evaluate what should be done. she for sure should not have just been sent home. her dr failed her and the baby! There really shoul have been something done! hope the baby turns out just fine, but it probably won't. the poor baby!

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