Many women experience cravings for food or hunger pangs during the first trimester. This is mainly because of the fetus’s development inside the womb. However, the hunger factor can go on a toss for a few women where they undergo loss of appetite during early pregnancy and intense nausea.
Many women could find a loss of appetite early pregnancy at 4 weeks, where the food could be unappealing or they might want to eat but couldn’t do so.
If you are one among them experiencing all this, it is quite natural for you to know why you suffer from morning sickness and loss of appetite during early pregnancy.
This article covers important aspects you need to know about the loss of appetite during early pregnancy.
What Causes Loss Of Appetite During Early Pregnancy
Loss of appetite during pregnancy’s 1st trimester is common as the body undergoes a lot of fluctuations. While many women eat more to balance the calorie intake and meet the nourishment of the growing fetus, but a few could develop a disinterest towards the food. However, you need to be able to differentiate between aversion and dislike of food.
Related Reading: 12 Tips To Maintain Weight During Pregnancy
Hormones like leptin and the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) could go through a huge change during the pregnancy phase. Hence, you could feel things like nausea during early pregnancy and loss of appetite.
Several factors could be associated with loss of appetite during early pregnancy such as:
1. Morning sickness
Pregnancy comes with a lot of unexpected things. However, as we know, morning sickness is very common during the first trimester. Many women go through morning sickness and loss of appetite during early pregnancy.
Women with morning sickness face problems such as nausea and vomiting that lead to loss of appetite during early pregnancy. Many women prefer to stay without eating anything rather than vomiting the food they eat, though there are a few morning sickness snacks that can help you get the required energy for your day to keep you up and running.
Nausea during early pregnancy and loss of appetite is common for many women. The fear of nausea plays an important role in restricting the moms-to-be from eating food.
According to the American Pregnancy Association almost half of the to-be-moms experience loss of appetite and nausea during the first trimester.
Also, the activity during the first trimester is less and the changes in the digestive system during this phase slows down the appetite intake.
3. Mental health conditions
Moms-to-be go through a lot of physical and mental changes. Various conditions like depression, stress, lack of sleep could have an impact on your appetite.
Depression in pregnant women could bring them a loss of appetite during early pregnancy as they don’t get to show interest in food and choose the less nutritious one.
Related Reading: 8 Causes Of Sleep Deprivation During Pregnancy
It was found that many women’s food intake was associated with depression which grew even more as mom’s reached their second and third trimesters.
4. Sense of smell
During pregnancy, some women develop a high sense of smell. This overpower could create an aversion towards certain food and their smell which leads to loss of appetite.
Loss of appetite during early pregnancy and fetal growth
Though the evidence is limited and conflicting, women with loss of appetite during early pregnancy or eating disorders must be referred to an obstetrician during the early phase of pregnancy to avoid any miscarriage.
Pregnancy can be more stressful and anxious for mothers who experience loss of appetite or disordered eating.
According to a study, undernutrition could lead to complicated pregnancy such as poor fetal growth, low birth weight, maternal weight loss. Children also face lower mental and behavioral issues.
Further it has been also found that pregnant women must ensure that the developing child gets both macro and micro nutrients. Hence, make sure to keep munching something.
7 Ways To Manage The Loss Of Appetite During Early Pregnancy
Loss of appetite during early pregnancy could be concerning. Yet, it is common. Your body goes through sudden changes such as disinterest in regular food or lack of desire to eat.
Though occasional loss of appetite isn’t a problem but completely avoiding food could cause complications in fetal growth. It won’t be a problem unless you gain the repaired weight for the month. Since it is your responsibility to ensure fetal nutrition too, you must take care of the nutritional requirements of both.
A prominent tip for you is to avoid eating food that makes you nauseous. Keep yourself hydrated with liquids and fluids throughout the day.
Let us see 7 ways to manage the loss of appetite during early pregnancy.
1. Eat smaller meals
When you feel your stomach full or don’t feel like eating anything, it is recommended you break your eating pattern into regular intervals. A pregnant woman’s body lets off the hunger signal frequently where she can eat up to six meals per day.
You need to break your eating pattern into small or frequent quantities which helps you to keep your stomach filled, though not heavy. In this way, you don’t feel uncomfortable but also get the nutrients that are required to keep you energized.
If you still feel the loss of appetite during pregnancy in the 1st trimester it is better to consult your obstetrician.
Related Reading: 21 Pregnancy Superfoods To Include In Your Pregnancy Diet
2. Focus on liquids
Intake of water is essential just as you take your vitamins and minerals to maintain a healthy pregnancy. It helps you from tackling headaches and routes the nutrients to your baby.
Drinking water fills your tummy even when you don’t feel like eating food due to morning sickness and loss of appetite during early pregnancy. It is recommended you drink at least 8 glasses of water per day as proper hydration is a mandate during pregnancy.
You can also include fruits and vegetables along with this that might help you keep your tummy filled for a while.
3. Make use of the hunger gaps
Loss of appetite during early pregnancy could make you weak if you don’t meet the daily nutritional requirement. You might feel hungry or get the urge to eat something sometime during the day. Make use of those brief moments to munch on food that is rich in calories and nutritionally dense.
Try not to go towards the junk side. Rather focus on foods that are rich in carbs and protein. Not only are they healthy, but they keep your tummy full for a long period.
It is recommended you take bananas and yogurts that might increase your protein and calcium content.
Related Reading: 10 Health Benefits And 4 Risks Of Eating Banana During Pregnancy
4. Stay away from strong-smelling foods
Pregnant women develop a strong sense of smell which is related to loss of appetite during early pregnancy. To tackle this, it is suggested you stay away from spicy and fatty foods.
Fatty foods are most likely to cause nausea during early pregnancy and loss of appetite while spicy foods are prone to develop heartburns.
Make sure to keep the house clean and free from any odor. You can use scented candles or room fresheners to get rid of foul smells if any.
5. Eat ginger based foods
Are you confused why we recommend ginger during pregnancy? Ginger comes with a lot of medicinal properties such as stomach-settling, anti-nauseous. It is one of the tested and tried solutions to handle the loss of appetite during early pregnancy.
Ginger is available in many forms such as ginger tea, ginger powder, ginger spices, ginger candies, etc. As this gives you instant relief, you may eat what suits you the best.
6. Try new foods
Sometimes trying over a variety of foods could be the solution to handle the loss of appetite during early pregnancy. Nausea during early pregnancy and loss of appetite along with morning sickness is what you have to deal with during the initial phase.
To go through the loss of appetite during pregnancy’s 1st trimester it is recommended you bring in diversity in your eating habits. Go for foods that seem to be appealing to you and in case it isn’t a healthy option, try making it in a healthy way to make sure it doesn’t affect you and your baby.
Related Reading: Top 10 Protein Rich Foods For Pregnancy
7. Take prenatal vitamins
Loss of appetite during early pregnancy could lead to less food intake which means the nutrients supplied to your body is also less. Taking vitamins will help you need those nutritional gaps.
You can ask your doctor to give you the required medicines to meet those nutrient gaps alongside medicines to handle the loss of appetite during pregnancy’s 1st trimester and to increase your appetite.
Loss of appetite during early pregnancy, whether mild or severe, should be carefully monitored as the general belief is that pregnant women have increased appetite due to the fetus growing inside.
“Taking care of two during the pregnancy phase” is the standard saying as the moms-to-be are responsible for the growth of the fetus too. There could be many special moments as well as hiccups during the pregnancy phase just like a drop in the appetite.
Appetite drop could vary from one woman to another and from one particular food to various varieties of food. Though the first trimester doesn’t add any change to your physical appearance, remember that the foundation for growth is laid already.
If the appetite hasn’t increased even after following the above steps, we recommend you meet your doctor as there is no harm in getting an external opinion.