When you’re having a baby, you may not expect to have a loss of appetite during pregnancy. That’s because one of the first things people tell you when you’re pregnant is how hungry you’re going to be because you’re eating for two. They’ll tell you not to worry if you’re eating 24/7 because that’s “normal.”
So when you lose your appetite you begin to wonder, is my loss of appetite during pregnancy normal? The short answer is yes. But, why? Let’s take a look.
What causes loss of appetite during the first trimester?
There are several very legit reasons why you may have no appetite whether you’re in the first trimester, second trimester, or third trimester. Here’s a look at some pesky problems during the first trimester.
- Morning sickness. Morning sickness is usually around during the first trimester, although it can stick around longer for some women (sorry!) and can be a problem at any time of the day (sorry again!). Up to 80% of all pregnant women will experience nausea and vomiting during their first trimester. So, if you have no morning sickness, consider yourself one of the chosen ones! Those that do experience morning sickness will tell you that when you have constant heartburn and/or nausea, the last thing you want to do is eat.
- Stress. Although you’re not a momma yet, the idea is a stressful one for some women. They worry about everything from financial issues to whether they’ll be a good parent. Stress can impact your appetite and make you not want to eat.
- Hormonal issues. Pregnancy does a job on your hormones and can affect your appetite. Your estrogen levels are on the rise, and that can make you cry at a Hallmark commercial and make you very sensitive to certain food smells. Those smells can make you feel nauseous and lose your appetite. In fact, you may feel like you have no appetite but still feel hungry.
How long does the loss of appetite last in early pregnancy?
By now you’ve probably heard it one-hundred times, every pregnancy is different. With that said, there’s no right or wrong answer to this question. Typically speaking, the loss of appetite in early pregnancy usually subsides by the twelfth week. You could get lucky and have that time be shorter, or you may have to deal with it longer.
What causes loss of appetite during the second and third trimester?
During this time, many pregnant women are often over their morning sickness and start to feel pretty good. This is when people may tell you that “you’re glowing” although you may not feel it! Regardless, you may still not have your full appetite back. Stress may still be an issue, but things like constipation start playing a role. You may not want to talk about it, but it can really affect appetite.
Since your baby is growing more and more during the second trimester and third trimester, there is more pressure being put on your body, including on your digestive system. This can slow down the digestive system leading to a constant full feeling and possible constipation.
The progesterone hormone is also on the rise which isn’t always good news for your digestive system either. This can also play a role in the constipation issue, leading to your loss of appetite.
Will my loss of appetite affect my baby?
Many women fear that if they have no appetite, they will not gain weight and are not taking care of their baby’s nutritional needs. The CDC has a recommended weight gain chart for pregnant women. While this is helpful, it is merely a guide for what is recommended. If your loss of appetite is causing you to lose weight, it’s best to talk to your doctor to create a course of action that works best for you and your baby.
When does appetite increase during pregnancy?
Typically most pregnant women see a surge in their appetite during the second trimester. This is when many experience no morning sickness and are feeling at their pregnancy peak. But, don’t freak out if you’re not ordering two dinners! Everyone is different so you may see an increase in appetite earlier or later or maybe even not at all.
How to avoid loss of appetite during pregnancy?
While you can’t turn on a magic switch inside your body, there are things you can do to help avoid loss of appetite during pregnancy.
- Eat smaller meals more frequently. To avoid that full feeling and all the complications that come along with it, eat smaller meals more regularly. This will give your body time to digest while still keeping you nourished.
- Avoid fatty foods. These foods are hard to process and can lead to constipation problems and loss of appetite.
- Add more fiber. A fiber-rich diet not only helps to keep all systems go but is also a good idea to stay healthy.
- Make BRAT your BFF. BRAT refers to a diet including bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. These foods help to ward off nausea. If you can keep nausea at bay, then you may be able to ease the loss of appetite.
- Drink plenty of water. Although it will make you pee more, staying hydrated can also help to avoid constipation and keep everything moving. Drink that water momma!
- Don’t force yourself to eat. One of the worst things you can do is to force yourself to eat when you’re feeling nauseous, especially in the morning. This will do nothing to increase your appetite. Instead, drink a glass of water until you are feeling hungry.
- Stay away from stinky foods. Fish and spicy foods can bring about feelings of nausea in many pregnant women whose sense of smell has jumped about twenty levels due to their pregnancy. If at all possible, stay away from those foods to help keep your appetite up instead of having it take a nose dive.
- De-stress. Since stress can lead to loss of appetite, look for ways to relax. This can be anything from sitting down and taking a few deep breaths to talking a walk or a pre-natal yoga class. Some women even opt for a prenatal massage. Before starting any exercise program or going for a massage while pregnant, be sure to check with your doctor to prevent complications.
If appetite issues get you down, remember to keep your eye on the prize. It will be worth it in nine months, and you’ll forget all about the days you worried about your loss of appetite during pregnancy.
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