Pregnant Woman At Refrigerator

Pregnancy calls for a lot of change! 

The kind of changes that you go through are not just limited to your body changes. Most women also experience appetite changes during pregnancy. 

Many women will start feeling the urge to “eat for two” and attempt to battle through their pregnancy cravings and the foods that they want because of their increased appetite, but should be avoiding

On the other hand, some may experience food aversion -  a dislike in eating certain foods. This may be because some foods start to be unappealing to you, or maybe you do feel hungry but can’t bring yourself to eat something. 

Although this is common for many pregnant women, it’s important to understand the reasoning behind the changes in your appetite and learn what you can do to treat it! 


What Causes Appetite Loss During Pregnancy?

 

Your appetite fluctuates and adjusts throughout your entire life, so it’s no surprise that it continues to change during your pregnancy as well. 

If you notice that you’re starting to lose your appetite, it can be due to your disinterest in certain foods or the lack of desire to eat altogether. 

It’s important to know the difference between low appetite and food aversion. Food aversion is the strong dislike of certain kinds of food, whereas a low appetite or loss of appetite occurs when you don’t have the desire to eat at all. 

Food aversions are extremely common, such as:

  • Meat 
  • Fatty food 
  • Spicy food
  • eggs

Many things can cause appetite changes during the pregnancy, such as:


Nausea

Many women can attest to nausea and vomiting being one a common pregnancy discomfort, as about 65% of pregnant women experience nausea and vomiting during their term - especially during their first trimester

It’s very common for women who experience nausea and vomiting to also undergo a reduced level of food intake. 

To combat this, try avoiding certain foods that increase the effects of nausea like very sweet foods, spicy foods, fried foods and hot foods. Different scents can also trigger nausea so you may even want to try eating outside in the fresh air to avoid being triggered by an unwanted scent.

Stick to dry and salty snacks like pretzels and crackers. Try not to drink too many fluids with your food because this combination can also cause you to vomit. It’s a better idea to eat smaller meals, more frequently throughout the day. 

Mental Health 

Different kinds of mental health conditions, such as depression, stress, and anxiety, can play a role in affecting your appetite. 

Many stressors can arise to the surface when expecting a child - having to adjust to the body changes, going through pregnancy symptoms and discomforts, anticipating the delivery of your child. 

Your body will experience physical and chemical changes if and when you’re stressed during your pregnancy. Specifically, these changes include the alterations to your eating habits. 


Medication 

Of course, certain kinds of medication are safe during pregnancy, but some can have side effects like a decrease in appetite. 

For instance, taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), can cause a loss of appetite, getting full quicker, and weight loss. 

 

Tips On How To Treat Appetite Loss

Pregnant Woman Debating Between Foods

If you’re experiencing loss of appetite during your pregnancy, and wanting to get your eating habits back on track, here are some tips on how to treat your appetite loss:


Choose Wisely 

Prioritize certain foods even if you find it difficult to consume large, whole meals. This will help to ensure you get all the nutrients you need for yourself and for your baby to grow healthy. 

The following foods are easy (easy to make and easy on your stomach) and adequate options that you should prioritize:

  • Protein-rich snacks: hard-boiled eggs, greek yogurt, cheese and crackers, roasted chickpeas, sliced turkey or chicken
  • Fiber-filled vegetables: sweet potatoes, green beans, baby carrots, raw spinach
  • Sweet snacks: berries, oatmeal, dried fruit
  • Grains: pasta, brown rice, mashed or baked potato, quinoa
  • Liquids: soups, broths, smoothies

Bottom Line 

Don’t get overwhelmed by all the changes you go through during your pregnancy. Remember that it’s completely normal and appetite loss can very well be one of those changes. 

Take it one step at a time and be sure to reach out for professional help if you experience chronic or long-lasting appetite loss.