Ulo/Nzu and Pregnancy: 15 Reasons Pregnant women should not eat ulo Clay (Calabash chalk), the side effects of eating clay, Any benefit of nzu in pregnancy?

Nzu/ulo also known as Calabash white chalk is a clay (earth product) many Africans have been using to treat morning sickness, vomiting and cravings in pregnant women for time immemorial. They believe it works for them and it also make the baby grow strong bones.

White chalk as it is as called is so popular among pregnant women than you can imagine..

When a group of women were asked on Facebook if they licked or ate nzu (chalk) when you were pregnant? Out of over 500 responses l, over 400 said yes.

Below were some of their responses👇

Blessing Isaac Odueley

Chai!! My second pregnancy I was addicted to it,my husband hated it and always threw it away so I had to separate it in different locations in the house in case one is gone another is readily available 🤣🤣 pregnancy wahala.

Side effects of Nzu in pregnancy
Women narrates their cravings for Nzu (Calabash white chalk) during and after pregnancy

Blessing Eluma

Yes ooo addicted is understatement …hmmm mine #500 nzu finishes in 3days if my husband hide it ooo but once after delivery I can’t even withstand the thing

Favour Nkeiru

I lick small for 1 and 2 baby the 3 one is those flat ones that don’t have sand that I was licking I was so much craving for that one.

Sochi Obayi

Am still licking it now without pregnancy.

Rosmary Tobechukwu

Am salivating at the mention of that name ‘nzu’ even without pregnancy.


Researches are few on this but the some that were done revealed that these pregnant women lack essential minerals such as iron, calcium, zinc and magnesium. Because of this they are attracted to eat the clay in order to restore the deficiency. Most times, they pregnant women that crave for this clay have a nutritional anemia called iron deficiency anemia….one of the classical symptoms of iron deficiency anemia is PICA (the habit of eating anything that is not food and has no nutrition components for humans especially clay, ice, sand, pepper etc).

Nzu/ulo/calabash chalk
The dangers of nzu/ulo/calabash chalk especially in pregnancy

But is Nzu safe in pregnancy? The answer is CAPITAL NO. The dangers and side effects of eating clay/nzu in pregnancy are numerous. I am going to explain them below.

15 Reasons Pregnant women should not eat calabash white chalk… The dangerous Side effects of Nzu in pregnancy

1. CONSTIPATION: our stomach and intestines are not able to digest clay so it will accumulate in the digestive organs causing constipation.

2. INTESTINAL OBSTRUCTION: since our gastrointestinal tract cannot digest Nzu, it can lead to blockage and twisting of the intestines. This causes severe pains in pregnant women which may require surgery to relieve and salvage the intestines.

3. LEAD POISONING: lead is a metal found in earth products like clay and the symptoms are >> fatigue, constipation, anemia and high blood pressure and brain damage.

4. BIRTH DEFECTS: consuming white chalk while pregnant can affect the normal development of a foetus leading to congenital birth defects.

5.BRAIN DAMAGE: because white chalk may contain some amount of lead, it may cause brain injury in unborn children if consumed by pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers.

6. ABDOMINAL PAIN: Eating Nzu can cause abdominal pain that will mimick labour pains.

7. HELMINTH INFECTION: intestinal worm infestation tcoming from faeces (animal or human) in the clay. Worm infestation can cause abdominal pains, diarrhea, constipation, liver damage and anemia.

8. MISCARRIAGE: Though not scientifically proven, white chalk can cause miscarriage in pregnant women.

9. LOW BIRTH WEIGHT: Mothers who are addicted to Nzu/ulo during pregnancy usually give delivers low birth weight babies

10. KIDNEY STONES: for sure, eating white chalk leads to the accumulation of calcium in the renal tubules (in proportion that it cannot excrete) leading to the development of kidney stones.

11. ADDICTION AND DEPENDENCE: Eating clay creates dependency just like cocaine or alcohol so it is very difficult to stop eating it but not totally impossible.

12. POOR APPETITE: eating Nzu reduces your desire for food and this may affect your baby negatively in terms of weight gain

13. CANCER: Arsenic (which is also found in calabash chalk) is a carcinogen, and excessive long-term exposure to it has been associated with a range of adverse health effects, including cancers.

14. Poor learning in children due to brain injury and lead poisoning

15. Loss of essential micronutrients in the body.

Other reported side effects of Ulo/Nzu clay

1. Infertility

2. Ovarian cyst

3. Uterine fibroid

4. Heavy menstruation

5. Pimples

Other names of nzu: CALABASH CHALK, DHOTI, PEMBA, MABELE, MOBU, NDOM, KAOLIN CLAY. It is called Èku in Bini language.



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