Appetite Changes

Do I need to eat more now I'm pregnant?

Eating for two is just not true, so watch your appetite during pregnancy. In fact you’d be surprised how small the recommended increase in calorie intake during pregnancy really is!

Guidelines for extra calorie intake during pregnancy

Whilst guidelines vary, the Institute of Medicine says if you are a healthy weight, you need:

  • First Trimester no additional calories
  • Second Trimester 340 extra calories a day
  • Third Trimester 450 extra calories a day

It’s important to remember that we are all different shapes and sizes, therefore we all have different appetites and intake requirements. These amounts are only to be used as a rough guide.

I take myself as an example here; I have a high metabolism and during my second and early third trimester I was eating at least 600-800 extra calories per day. I put on 15kg’s with each pregnancy and weighed 1.5kgs over my normal weight postpartum.

Pregnancy Appetite Changes

Is Appetite Loss Normal During Pregnancy?

Eating correctly may turn out to be trickier than you thought it would be during pregnancy. In the first trimester, a lot of women find it hard to eat at all due to morning sickness. Many women struggle through the first trimester and worry more that they are not eating enough because they experience nausea and vomiting. Your amazing new found sense of smell will find you being put off a lot of foods! It is surprising for many newly pregnant women, when they find they suddenly have aversions to some of their favourite foods.

When will my appetite increase again during pregnancy?

In general, pregnant women find that their appetites increase again once they are out of the first trimester. As you reach the third trimester, your stomach will be gradually squished due to a growing baby meaning you won’t be able to fit a huge portion into your stomach any more. Many women suffer more from acid reflux during their third trimester, making it more uncomfortable to eat bigger portions. See Acid Reflux for tips around soothing acid reflux symptoms during pregnancy.

Feeling hungry all the time or feeling hungry during the night?

You may feel you have an increased appetite during pregnancy, especially during your third trimester. Do you wake up in the middle of the night because your stomach is empty and rumbling? During the third trimester of pregnancy, your stomach does not have physical capacity for larger meals. Therefore, as your pregnancy reaches it final stages, you will find that you need to eat little and often.

Some researchers have concluded that women pregnant with boys will eat around 10% more during pregnancy in comparison to women carrying girls. Perhaps another reason for feeling hungry?

What Should I be Eating During Pregnancy?

Nutrition during pregnancy is an important topic. Make sure you are aware of all the „no go“ foods and that you keep up to date with your doctor on this topic.
Our bodies are very clever and during pregnancy are programmed to absorb more of the nutrients from the food we eat. Eat a well balanced diet. Take supplements for all the recommended prenatal vitamins and nutrients your body needs if you want to be really sure.

Should I eat what I am craving during pregnancy?

It’s good to take notice of what you crave as these may well be the vitamins or nutrients that your body is crying out for. I remember craving spinach, then got told that my iron levels were low. My personal opinion is to listen to your body and eat what you feel like, as long as it is within the recommended guidelines. Visit my page on Cravings to find out more about this topic.

Is the Health and Growth of Baby Directly Linked to What we Eat?

According to eating a nutritious diet during pregnancy is linked to good fetal brain development, a healthy birth weight, and it reduces the risk of many birth defects. It is important to add here that pregnant women should avoid putting unnecessary stress upon themselves during stages of pregnancy when they are find it hard to eat at all. Always consult your doctor if you are worried about what you are eating (or not eating).

Tips for helping with your appetite during pregnancy

  • Eat a balanced diet. There are some good pregnancy nutrition guidelines available which support your bodily needs throughout each stage of pregnancy.
  • Prenatal vitamins & nutrients – ensure you are taking the recommended daily intake (ask your doctor)
  • Eat little and often; eating frequent meals that are smaller in size will make your appetite more manageable.
  • Keep well hydrated; drink plenty of water or perhaps a red grape juice which is good for iron intake (it was one of my favourites). Refer to my tips around Acid reflux to help soothe any symptoms and improve your appetite.
  • Keep healthy and filling snacks next to your bed for calming hunger pangs during the night.

In the end, you do your best. Try to trust your the needs of your body. Don’t get stressed if some days you can’t eat anything and other days you eat unheathily. The most important thing is that Mama feels good and has enough energy.
Always ask your doctor for advice around which foods to eat and not eat. If you are experiencing rapid weight gain, make sure you contact a medical professional to discuss.