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