6 ways to combat loss of appetite during pregnancy.

Pregnancy brings about remarkable changes in a woman's body, not only physical, physiological as well. The surge of pregnancy hormones influences the function of the internal organs also. All the systems of a pregnant woman's body have to work harder to satisfy the needs of mother and the unborn child. This paves the way to several uncomfortable outcomes. One of the things that are most commonly affected is appetite. While some women encounter with extreme hunger, others experience loss of appetite in the course of pregnancy.  Unlike extreme hunger, loss of appetite will bother the expecting mother as their concern about gaining enough pregnancy weight and the possibility of nutrient deficiency that affect the normal development of the fetus. Continue reading to understand the causes and ways to combat this situation.

When does the pregnant woman experience loss of appetite?

Most of the expecting mothers experience some degree of loss of appetite during the first trimester of the pregnancy. Nausea, vomiting, fatigue etc. that appears as early as the fourth week of the pregnancy can bring about the loss of appetite. The appetite improves during the second trimester and many pregnant women again encounter loss of appetite during the third trimester.

What causes loss of appetite in pregnant women?

Here are some factors that trigger loss of appetite in pregnant women:

1. Morning sickness:

Nausea and vomiting are very common in 70 – 80% of pregnant women in their first trimester. Some may even experience in until the beginning of the second trimester. However, in the case of multiple pregnancies, it can linger to your third trimester as well.  The aversion to certain smell and food, constant nausea, and vomiting obviously can affect your appetite.

2. Stress:

Both the hormone fluctuation and the anxiety about the baby's development, the possibilities of financial issues (especially for single mothers) can bring about stress. Other outside factors can also affect your state of mind. It is a well-known fact that the stress can either increase or decrease your appetite. Stress can also cause headaches and fatigue that can also lead to a loss of appetite.

3. Gastric issues:

Surging pregnancy hormones can bring about several gastric issues like heartburn, constipation, acid reflux, etc. that hinder the normal appetite.

4. Growing uterus:

Toward the end of the second trimester and during the thirds trimester the baby is big enough to pressurize the stomach of the mother. This will reduce the capacity and quantity of eating. After taking a few bites of food, the mother might feel "full". 

How can I combat loss of appetite during pregnancy?

Thinking, eating, and sleeping well will resolve the loss of appetite during pregnancy to an extent. Here are 6 ways to combat loss of appetite during pregnancy:

1. Eat small meals more frequently:

Eating a big meal is hard for a pregnant woman, irrespective of the trimester. If during the first trimester, vomiting and nausea hinder with eating, during the third trimester it is the pressure applied by the growing belly on the stomach that hinder eating well. Try eating small meals throughout the day instead of a one to three big ones. Like this, you won't feel too full. Feeling full is an important cause that makes you vomit more. A small meal can be digested more easily than a big one as well.

2. Stay well hydrated:

Usually, we are instructed to drink water prior to the meal as water and liquids will fill up your stomach faster and since you have less room in your stomach you will eat less and check the weight gain. However, when you drink water at the right time, you can find water actually helps with appetite issues. Water brings down the chances of constipation and aids in proper digestion. You may also try drinking ginger tea, which enhances appetite.

3. Stay active

Staying physically active contributes to combating loss of appetite.  Being active will help you digest food more rapidly and more effectively and, thereby, make you feel hungry. Exercise will also help to bring down the stress, one important factor that triggers the loss of appetite.

4. Discard fast food and carbonated drinks:

Fast food contributes lots of fat and calories, let it be a tiny hamburger or a harmless looking chicken sandwich. Avoiding fast can contribute to appetite. Take light foods are easier to digest. Avoid deep fried food. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Eating right will increase your appetite.

5. Increase the intake of fiber:

An important way to start feeling hungry again is to eat foods with a lot of fiber. Fiber-rich food helps to get rid of constipation and bloating, encourages digestion and thereby induces appetite.

6. Take prenatal vitamins:

Never skip prenatal vitamins and supplements. It will compensate temporary nutritional and mineral gaps due to loss of appetite

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