Increased Hunger During Pregnancy: Reasons, Facts & Remedies

Increased Hunger During Pregnancy – Causes & Solutions

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Rima Sonpal (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
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Sometimes during pregnancy, your stomach might feel like a bottomless pit. Pregnancy means being constantly hungry, not feeling full soon, and wanting the weirdest food combinations to eat! Fear not, because increased hunger during pregnancy is totally normal. Let us see why and how hunger increases during pregnancy, and how you can deal with it.

When Does Appetite Usually Increase During Pregnancy?

Hunger during pregnancy usually increases in the second trimester, but some women experience it as early as in the first trimester. But normally, it happens during the second trimester, as that is the time your morning nausea usually ends and hunger pangs start so you can regain the weight you lost in the first trimester.

Is It Normal to Have an Increased Appetite During Early Pregnancy?

A pregnant woman picking a fruit from the refrigerator

The levels of progesterone in your body are going up during the first trimester of pregnancy, because of which you will feel nauseous (leading to morning sickness) and elevated levels of hunger. Usually, after vomiting, you will feel sudden hunger pangs because your stomach has emptied. Aside from this, you are likely to feel hungry during pregnancy because your body needs the calories you lost when vomiting, and because your baby needs nutrition to grow inside your belly. During pregnancy, women have higher blood levels, which need calories to maintain themselves This causes intense hunger and food cravings. This usually may happen between week 7 and 12, where you might start disliking foods you previously liked and develop cravings for other food. Many women experience late-night hunger during pregnancy as well. This usually settles down at the end of the second trimester and is very normal.

Why Do You Feel Hungry All the Time During Pregnancy?

• The number one cause of increased hunger during the second trimester of pregnancy is the growing foetus that requires nutrition to grow and develop properly.
• In addition, your body craves the extra calories to maintain the high blood levels in your body and other processes that are taking place during the gestation period.
• Hunger during the third trimester of pregnancy and during the end of the second trimester may also be due to milk production, as your body is getting ready for pregnancy.

Important Facts About Excessive Hunger

You will be eating for two people, but the important thing to remember is that you don’t have to eat gigantic portions all the time. Your foetus is far smaller than you and your portion sizes should be made accordingly. You should eat until your stomach is satisfied, and you absolutely can have your share of mini-meals and snacks during your pregnancy. But, to put it quite simply, don’t give into your cravings and overeat. Excessive fried chicken, samosas or birthday cake is not healthy for your baby or for you!

What Can You Do About Increased Appetite During Pregnancy?

A pregnant woman holding a plate of fruits and a glass of juiceBelow are a few tips you can use to keep your hunger pangs at bay:

Check Your Calorie Count: During the first trimester, most mothers don’t need extra calories. In the second trimester, you will need 350 more calories than your normal diet, which increases to 500 in your third trimester. Make sure you stick to it and not over-indulge.

Avoid Dehydration: Sometimes, you might confuse dehydration with hunger as your body is working overtime and demanding more fluids during pregnancy. You will need to replenish the fluids in your body, so drink 12 to 13 cups of water a day – more so if you live in a warm climate and sweat a lot. Avoid sugary drinks like sodas, and stick to fresh juices or water.

Eat Healthy Meals: Make sure your pregnancy diet is healthy and filling as opposed to just being filling. Have fresh, whole foods instead of processed or refined ones. For energy, pair whole grains or fruit with healthy fats (dairy or nut butter) and protein. You can try having meals which require more chewing as it will help you feel fuller. A huge salad bowl with nutrients and fibre will fill you up more than spaghetti.

Carry Snacks: In case you are out and are suddenly hit by hunger pangs, carry a packet of nuts or trail mix that you can immediately reach out for instead of falling back on unhealthy junk food.

Eat Frequent But Small Meals: Spread out your meals into mini-meals over three hours instead of eating huge amounts during each sitting. The latter will cause more bloating, gas and heartburn than you are already experiencing.

Avoid Temptation: You can indulge once a week in your favourite food, but in general, avoid adding junk food in your shopping cart or your kitchen cabinet. Out of sight, out of mind!

  • Watch Your Pregnancy Weight: You will inevitably gain weight during your pregnancy, so make sure that your eating habits do not contribute to it majorly. Eating junk food can cause weight gain along with other problems like diabetes or heart conditions if you are already susceptible to them, which can affect your pregnancy overall. So, if you notice that you are gaining weight way too fast, check with your doctor to see the underlying cause.

Your appetite will gradually decrease in your third trimester of pregnancy, but till then, follow the above tips to handle your pregnancy hunger pangs like a pro. Remember to consume high-quality food as you increase your food intake so it does not cause you more problems.

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