Effects of Not Eating Enough While Pregnant

Effects of Not Eating Enough During Pregnancy

Appetite loss during pregnancy is a common concern with several pregnant women. Though they don’t wish for it voluntarily, they can’t just avoid it simply, too. Nutrition is one of the key factors involved in ensuring the well-being of a baby and a mother. And, if a pregnant woman does not eat well, the effects of not eating enough during pregnancy could be adverse, leading to several complications during delivery or after the baby’s birth. If you wish to understand why this happens, what are the risks associated with not eating properly during preganncy and how you should manage to get optimum nutrition when you do not eat properly, we recommend taking a look at this post.

Reasons You Might Not Feel Like Eating in Pregnancy

So, why during such a delicate time, some pregnant women act all funny and do not wish to eat? Well, scientifically speaking, it is actually not in their hands. Let us get a look at the following points and know why women don’t feel like eating:

  • The body becomes hypersensitive to taste and smell, thus making you dislike food.
  • Sometimes women may experience a metallic taste in their mouths that sticks to the palate, making you not want to eat.
  • Morning sickness and nausea can take a toll on the appetite, and you may fear that as soon as you eat, you will start feeling sick again.
  • Not eating too much is also the body’s mechanism for avoiding the possible consumption of any harmful food that may could affect the growing fetus.
  • The hormonal imbalance in the body may take a toll on your appetite, too.

Risks of Not Eating Enough While Pregnant

Risks of Not Eating Enough While PregnantIf you do not eat well during pregnancy, there are many complications or problems that may crop up. Here are some known risks and effects of not eating enough during pregnancy:

1. It May Cause Neurological Disorders

Improper nutrition may lead to neurological disorders in unborn babies. Sometimes the spine or brain may not develop fully, which may lead to learning disabilities as babies grow. However, if vitamin B12 and folate supplements are consumed, such kinds of defects or complications can be evaded.

2. It May Lead to Foetal or Infant Death

A nightmare for a would-be-mother, but if pregnant women do not eat properly and get ample nutrition, it may lead to fetal death. There is also the possibility of fetal death after the birth. Severe malnutrition can cause complications that may cause infant or foetal deaths. However, general malnutrition may not lead to such dire consequences, but the baby may be born with neurological or physical defects or malnutritioned.

3. It May Lead to Slow Growth or Insufficient Growth

Mothers who do not eat well during pregnancy may have slower developing fetuses or insufficient growths. Growth issues may lead to further more complicated conditions after the birth of the baby.

4. It May Cause Low Birth Weight Infants

Babies who are born with low birth weight often results when mothers ate poorly during pregnancy or didn’t get proper nutrition.

Lack of proper nutrients in the body may lead to some of the above conditions in your unborn child. However, it also does not mean that you eat unhealthy food, such as potato chips or cola to gain weight. Well, gaining healthy weight and getting enough calories is important for your growing fetus, but that should come from a healthy source, such as fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, etc.

Tips to Get the Nutrients When You Under-Eat During Pregnancy

Nutrients When You Under-Eat During PregnancyNow that you are aware of the adverse effects of not eating enough during pregnancy, but are still struggling to eat food, here are some tips and tricks that may help you in getting important nutrients that are required for your unborn baby’s growth and development:

1. Check Your Portion Size

It is understood that you have to increase your calorie intake to meet up with your body’s increased needs to support baby’s growth and development, but that does not mean that you have to gobble down big portions in one go. It will be a better idea to keep your meal portions smaller and have them at frequent intervals. So, you can go for three small and nutritionally balanced meals along with about three-hour snacks in a day.

2. Stay Well Hydrated

Keep a tab on your fluid intake because more than your calorie intake, it is the number of fluids that you take in a day that matters. Include pasteurised fruit juices, milk, vegetable juices, and other kinds of fluids along with water to compensate for your body’s requirements.

What to Eat While Pregnant3. Include Lighter Meal Options

Eating a heavy meal that is laden with fats such as oil, cream, or butter can make anyone feel uneasy. Therefore, you should aim to have lighter meals that are cooked with minimum fats. Roasted, grilled, stir-fried, etc., are better options than deep-fried or other calorie-laden dishes.

4. Refrain From Adding Too Many Spices

There is no doubt that spices add a lovely flavour and aroma to the dishes, but too many spices, such as pepper, chilli, etc., can make a pregnant woman sick by giving her heart burns or acidity. Try and avoid using spices, and if you need to use them, make sure that you add them in moderation.

5. Never Skip Meals

We understand that eating food can sometimes become a struggle for a pregnant woman. However, never go without your meals for long durations, as it can prove to be detrimental for you and your baby. A pregnant woman not eating enough will impact both the mom and the baby adversely. Therefore, try and eat smaller meals frequently and never skip your meals.

Never Skip Meals6. Include Foods That Do Not Cause Nausea

It is understood that a pregnant woman needs different kinds of fruits, vegetables and other kinds of fruits in her daily diet for proper nutrition. However, if you are comfortable eating only a few, so then be it. Because getting some nutrition is better than getting none at all. If you like eating a banana while other fruits trigger nausea, then eat a banana until the feelings of nausea subside.

7. Include Foods at Different Temperatures

Because of changes in taste preferences during pregnancy, in some cases, pregnant women may start preferring cold foods and despise hot foods or vice versa. Please note it is totally normal for you to crave a food you despised before your pregnancy, and now you like it. So, include healthy food at whatever temperature suits you best by taking care of its shelf life and pasteurisation in the case of dairy products.

8. Make Sure You Take Your Supplements

In pregnancy, your doctor gives you some vitamins and other supplements to make up for your body’s increased demand for certain vitamins and minerals. Make sure you have these regularly to prevent any nutritional deficiency.

Your baby gets all his nutrition from you. So, your under-eating will impact not only you but also your baby. Make sure you replenish the reservoir of nutrients in your body by opting for the best possible eating options.


1. Hyperemesis gravidarum; MedlinePlus; https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001499.htm

2. Diet During Pregnancy; American Pregnancy Association; https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/diet-during-pregnancy/#

3. Appetite changes and food aversions during pregnancy; Pregnancy, Birth & Baby; pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/appetite-changes-and-food-aversions-during-pregnancy; Last reviewed: July 2022

4. During pregnancy; Queensland Health; https://www.health.qld.gov.au/clinical-practice/guidelines-procedures/clinical-staff/maternity/nutrition/lifestyle/pregnancy

5. Morning Sickness: Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy; The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/morning-sickness-nausea-and-vomiting-of-pregnancy

6. Am I Pregnant?; Cleveland Clinic; https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/9709-pregnancy-am-i-pregnant

Also Read:

Appetite Loss During Pregnancy
A Pregnant Woman’s Daily Diet
Not Gaining Enough Weight When Pregnant

Previous article «
Next article »