A stable fetal development requires that expectant mothers must have enough supplements of calcium for strong bone formation among other essential body needs.
It could be for this reason that hundreds of expectant women have been flocking the sprawling Muthurwa market in Nairobi in search of natural clay soil to boost the required supplements.
When EVE Digital located a business man who sources the soil from Kenol in Murang’a County on sunny afternoon, more than ten women in their early pregnancies were lining up to be served.
Mary Anyango for instance has travelled all the way from Syokimau to buy the clay for the third time now despite the distance. “I was directed here by friend after tasting her soil, they are natural unlike the ones I used to get from the supermarkets,” she said.
Irene Juma, another frequent customer, said that she has been consuming the clay for the past four years especially when she was pregnant for her first twin boys and now that she was back again.
But according to Francis Mwangi a medical doctor who runs a private clinic in Westlands, such women hunting for clay soil could be treading on dangerous ground.
The term for consuming nonfood items according to the doctor is called pica, which is characterized by persistent and compulsive craving to eat items that are not classified as foods. Eating such stuff may interfere with absorption of healthy nutrients which could eventually lead to mineral deficiency.
“Some of these clays may be laced with toxins or harmful parasitic ingredients. They could also have been bred in unclean environment or collected from spots there was urine feaces or others unhygienic matter,” he said while addressing the dangers of consuming these items.
“Side effects include bowel blockage that could lead to surgery, lead poisoning, premature birth, low birth weight among others,” the doctor warned.