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Britain's Weirdest Pregnancy Cravings Revealed

I've heard it all, from ladies who tell me how desperate they are to drink blood to those who also end up with cravings for certain smells, like creosote on fence panels or for the aroma of their pet's feet.

I pulled my car up outside a road-side diner in the dark following a late night shift at the hospital.

And there was only one thing on my mind - a craving for something chewy and salty that I simply couldn't shake.

I went inside and demanded two slices of raw bacon, nothing more and nothing less, from the guy behind the counter, prompting some puzzled looks and head scratching.

'It's for the morning', I told him, 'I'm going to cook it for my breakfast'.

Of course, it wasn't.

I got back in the car, hunkered down in the driver's seat and hungrily started scoffing the raw pork. And it tasted so good.

You see, when you're heavily pregnant - as I was at the time - hormones can do some quite strange things to women, who begin obsessing with what they're putting in their mouths.

Looking back now, I'm horrified. 'What were you thinking', I ask myself, 'That was crazy'. My poor husband was scared, too, telling me that it might make me really poorly.

And he was right. But at the time all I could think was, 'that looks delicious', as my mouth started watering. I knew that I just had to try it.

I've since learned that my mother, while pregnant with me, used to carry a little bottle of petrol around with her and she'd sniff it whenever the cravings took hold.

As for me, my craving for uncooked rashers also coincided with something altogether more bizarre.

We were renovating a house and I happened to notice a large bucket of wet builder's plaster sitting on the floor.

In my head, it looked like the best-looking Angel Delight I'd ever seen in my life. I dipped my finger into the bucket, brought it up to my mouth and devoured it. It was amazing!

So with all this in mind, and because of my work as a midwife, I'm now pretty much unshockable when it comes to the cravings that women will admit to having.

I've heard it all, from ladies who tell me how desperate they are to drink blood to those who also end up with cravings for certain smells, like creosote on fence panels or for the aroma of their pet's feet.

Often, the cravings will be incredibly strong, requiring the person to return home from work early in order to satisfy their senses.

Yet the science behind cravings is, surprisingly, little understood.

There's a school of thought that says the Neuropeptide Y, or 'NPY', a substance that is manufactured in the hypothalamus region of your brain and has been shown to be a powerful appetite stimulant, could be at play. NPY synthesis is increased during pregnancy and could be behind the urges to consume strange things.

But it's just a theory.

And much of it is, I believe, driven purely by hunger. Because you have an overwhelming appetite while you're pregnant, everything starts to resemble food.

And once you decide you 'need' something, nobody will be able to convince you otherwise.

It's a symptom of your over-thinking brain, as you tell yourself that 'what baby needs, baby gets', even if that means ice-cream washed down with gravy.

If you're not feeling very well, having something nice, like ice, in your mouth can stop the nausea.

For me, I used to eat one bran flake at a time, just to have something with a nice texture in my mouth.

Meanwhile some pregnant women may also experience phantom smells and tastes.

So the message to other pregnant women is this - if you've become a vampire in your lust for blood, if you can't stop eating toothpaste, or if you're sucking on used nappies (yes, really), don't worry, because you're really not alone.

Here's the weirdest pregnancy cravings I've encountered as a midwife, just to prove the point!

1. Sucking used nappies

2. Wet builders plaster

3. Eating coal

4. Eating purple Colgate toothpaste

5. The smell of my cat's paws

6. Chewing a baby bath sponge

7. Drinking blood

8. The smell of a damp towel

9. Oxo Cubes

10. Eating grass

11. Sniffing petrol

12. Pilchards and ice cream

13. Broccoli and salad cream

14. Eating bags of iceberg lettuce

15. Sniffing creosote