Pica is a commonly underappreciated disorder in pregnancy that can lead to several complications, including severe metabolic derangements and other adverse outcomes. We report a case of baking soda pica in pregnancy associated with both rhabdomyolysis and cardiomyopathy.
A multigravid woman at 37 weeks of gestation presented with weakness and severe hypokalemia. She subsequently had development of rhabdomyolysis and presumed peripartum cardiomyopathy. After delivery, it was discovered that the patient had a long history of consumption of large quantities of baking soda. Her condition improved with cessation of the pica.
Clinicians must have a high index of suspicion for pica in pregnancy because it can lead to complex diagnostic challenges and pregnancy complications. The diagnosis should be considered in a patient with unexplained metabolic abnormalities.