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Hunger in Early Pregnancy: What are The Causes of Increased Appetite During Early Pregnancy?

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Pregnancy Hunger

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Pregnancy means incessant hunger; you never feel full, and would want to try the weirdest combinations of food to eat! It’s like a black hole that wants to devour everything coming its way. But do not fear as increased hunger during pregnancy is normal. Read on to learn more about hunger increases during pregnancy, and how to deal with it.

Does it feel like you’re never going to get full? Experiencing an increased appetite while pregnant is pretty common, especially during the second trimester when your morning sickness is fading, cravings pick up and you need more calories to feed your ever-growing baby. Here’s how to sharpen your appetite and ensure that you’re getting all the nutrients you both need.

When Does Hunger in Early Pregnancy Start?

During pregnancy, your hunger usually increases by the second trimester, however, some women experience it as early as in the first trimester. But commonly, it takes place in the second trimester because it is around the time the morning nausea ends and the hunger pangs start so that you can regain the weight you lost in the first trimester.

Is It Common to Have Increased Appetite in Early Pregnancy?

During the first trimester of pregnancy, the levels of progesterone in your body are going up, because of this you will feel nauseous which results in morning sickness and elevated hunger. After you vomit, you will feel a sudden hunger pang as the stomach has been emptied. Apart from this, you are likely to feel more hungry during pregnancy because your body needs all the calories that you lost while vomiting, and because your baby needs nutrition to grow inside your belly.

Why Are You Always Hungry When Pregnant?

During their first trimester days, women tend to have higher blood levels and must eat calories to maintain them. This leads to food cravings and intense hunger. Usually, this happens between weeks 7 and 12, when you start liking and craving other food and also might not like the foods you did previously. A lot of women experience late-night cravings during pregnancy as well. This is very normal and usually settles down by the end of the second trimester.

  • The number one cause of an increase in appetite in the second trimester is the growing fetus which requires plenty of nutrition to grow and develop properly.
  • Your body also needs the extra calories to manage the high blood levels in your body and other processes that take place during the gestation period.
  • The hunger that occurs during the third trimester of pregnancy and by the end of the second trimester may also be due to milk production. It is all because your body is getting ready for delivery.

Important Facts About Early Pregnancy Hunger

Even though you will be eating for two people, the important thing to remember is that you don’t have to eat massive portions of food all the time. This is because your fetus is far smaller than you, and your portion sizes should be made accordingly. Just eat until you and your stomach are satisfied.

You can have your share of mini-meals, pre-meals, and snacks during your pregnancy. In simple words, don’t give in to your cravings and overeat. Eating excessive fried chicken, samosas, or birthday cake is not healthy for your baby or you!

What You Can Do About Increased Appetite in Early Pregnancy?

Here are some tips that you can use to keep your hunger pangs at bay:

1. Keep Your Calorie Count in Check

During the first trimester of your pregnancy, you don’t need to eat extra calories. Whereas in the second trimester, you will need to have 340 more calories than your normal diet, which then increases to 500 by your third trimester. 

Keep this in mind and make sure that you stick to it! Do not overindulge!

2. Remember To Stay Hydrated

During pregnancy, you might sometimes confuse dehydration with hunger because your body’s working overtime and demanding more fluids. You will need to provide the fluids in your body, so remember to

  • Drink 8 to 12 cups of water a day (drink more if you live in a warm climate and sweat a lot).
  • Avoid any sugary drinks like sodas, and stick to fresh juices or water.

3. Having Healthy Meals

When does hunger in early pregnancy start? As early as your first trimester. Make sure that your pregnancy diet is healthy as well as filling instead of just being filling throughout the 9-month journey. Go for fresh and whole foods in place of refined or processed ones.

  • For energy, have fruit or whole grains with some healthy fats (nut butter or dairy) and protein.
  • You can also opt for meals that require more chewing as it will help you feel fuller.
  • Have a huge salad bowl loaded with nutrients and fiber, that will fill you up more than spaghetti.

4. Carry Snacks

You must carry a packet of trail mix or nuts that you can immediately reach out to in times of need. This is because when you are out, you can be suddenly hit by these cravings. So, instead of reaching out to unhealthy junk food, you must go for this healthy alternative.

5. Eat Small Frequent Meals

Instead of eating huge amounts during one sitting, try to spread your full-course meals into mini-meals over 3 hours. The former will lead to more gas, bloating, and heartburn than you are already experiencing.

6. Stay stocked

Make sure you’ve got lots of healthy options on hand if you’re going to hit the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry daily. When you scarf down a whole cantaloupe, you’ve downed a whole day’s supply of vitamins A and C. You can’t say the same about a bag of cookies.

7. Avoid Temptation

You are allowed to indulge just once a week in your favorite food. But in general, avoid the addition of junk food in your shopping cart or the kitchen cabinet. Keep it out of sight and out of mind!

8. Keep an Eye on The Pregnancy Weight

Weight gain during your pregnancy, so make sure your eating habits are not major contributors. Eating junk food is not healthy as it can cause weight gain along with other problems such as diabetes or heart conditions. If you are already susceptible to them, it can affect your pregnancy overall. So, check with your doctor to see the underlying cause, if you observe a sudden gain in weight too fast.

When you are pregnant you are expected to put on some weight, however with the constant hunger, how are you supposed to keep the weight gain under control? Here are some suggestions that could help:

  • Try to begin your pregnancy at a healthy weight.
  • Make sure to eat frequently in moderation.
  • Always stay hydrated. Avoid any sugary or soda drinks. Go for some plain old water.
  • It’s okay to accept cravings but be constructive.
  • Remember to exercise. An easy way to stay active during pregnancy is walking.
  • Have a chat with your doctor about how much weight you should gain. Your starting weight helps in determining how much weight your doctor will recommend you gain.

9. Will Your Appetite Decrease?

For some women, their hunger seems to gradually subside once they reach the third trimester. It will feel like you are never hungry, or you may be hungry every couple of hours. As your baby grows bigger and it leaves less room for your stomach. This will lead to your stomach not being able to hold as much food as usual.

It can cause your appetite to decrease. Even on days when you don’t feel hungry, you need to eat enough to help nurture yourself and your baby. If you could, you should be eating at least 500 extra calories a day.

10. Try Eating Less and Feel Full

To keep yourself full, you need not consume three-course meals multiple times a day. It may feel like it’s an impossible task to do, however, it is possible to eat simple meals and make yourself feel full. Just have three small meals and 2-3 snacks to get you through the day.

11. Eat slower

It takes your brain at least 20 minutes just to process that your stomach is full. So, simply taking some extra time chewing your food can help you achieve that fullness faster.

12. Eat Half Your Portions

Simply split your meals up into several ones a day. You don’t need to stick to the traditional three meals a day. Just eat whenever you are hungry. However, don’t consume large meals but eat six small meals a day.

13. Keep Your Mind Busy

If you are just sitting around, you are bound to get easily distracted by the hunger you are feeling. However, if you pick up a hobby, it can help you distract your mind from hunger and redirect your attention elsewhere.

Follow the above-mentioned tips to handle pregnancy hunger pangs like a pro. Make sure that you consume high-quality food as you increase your food intake so that it does not cause you more problems.

A Healthy Pregnancy Diet Tip

As enticing as it very well might be to go after void calories when hunger in early pregnancy start, it’s critical to utilize your additional designation of food admirably while pregnant. Give these healthy ideas a shot.

Instead ofTry
Soda, sweetened coffee drinks, or energy drinksSome natural juices mixed with sparkling water
Pretzels, chips, and other salty snacksRoasted salty chickpeas, popcorn, whole wheat pita chips with guacamole
Sweet cerealHomemade granola or oatmeal
Ice creamYogurt with honey and fresh berries or chia pudding
Pastries and cookiesFresh fruits with peanut butter or dark chocolate
White pastaChickpea or whole wheat pasta and grains like farro and quinoa
Processed meats like deli meat and pepperoniTuna, chicken, or salmon (make sure you cook the fish thoroughly)


An increase in hunger is an inevitable part of pregnancy. It would be crazy to think that a woman is expected to consume the same amount of food as she used to.  Even though she is now actively growing a human being inside her.

You and your little one need the extra calories to be healthy and well-nourished. Do not feel guilty about consuming more food because you are also burning way more calories. You need that extra food to keep you moving and your baby growing!

FAQs: Early Pregnancy Hunger

1. Is extreme hunger in early pregnancy a sign of twins?

Most women who are pregnant with twins or more will experience the same pregnancy symptoms as others. However, they do often experience increased symptoms of pregnancy such as severe nausea, extreme fatigue, and fast weight gain.

2. Do you eat more when you are pregnant with a girl or boy?

Researchers suggest that pregnant women who are carrying boys eat about 10% more than those carrying girls.

3. What if I ignore pregnancy cravings?

Most pregnant women certainly have specific or unusual food cravings, however, it's perfectly normal not to have any cravings at all. It is good if you're not craving sugary or fatty foods because you're likely to make healthy food choices.


Reviewed By:

Jessica - Nutritionist Dietician

Jessica - Nutritionist Dietician

Jessica is the owner and registered dietitian nutritionist at Nutrition That Heals, LLC. She started her dietetics career working in acute care where she gained a great deal of invaluable experience, learning all about different disease states and their appropriate nutrition interventions. She then worked in long term care where she was able to develop her skills and knowledge base dealing with the elderly population. Following long term care, she worked as an outpatient dialysis dietitian, working with patients to help them eat their best for their kidney failure and often other health conditions (diabetes, heart disease, etc.). She then made the jump back to be an inpatient clinical dietitian. There, she was able to work with patients with strokes, cancer, orthopedic issues, as well as the pediatric population. During her most recent time working as an inpatient clinical dietitian, a great opportunity presented itself and it was a great way to move into focusing more on her dream of opening a private practice. She currently works full time as a contract dietitian with Dietitians on Demand conducting 1:1 nutrition counseling sessions while also working with patients here at Nutrition That Heals, LLC. ​She has been grateful enough to know how powerful good nutrition can be, but after being diagnosed with endometriosis in March 2022, she had to fully focus on the importance of anti-inflammatory foods, proper hydration, and self-care. This diagnosis motivated her to put pen to paper and get her business started - she wanted to teach what she had learned to others - food should be nourishing. Jessica wants to show you how you can heal with good nutrition, and feel your absolute best!

On behalf of the editorial team at Parenthoodbliss, we follow strict reporting guidelines and only use credible sources, along with peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and highly respected health organizations. To learn about how we maintain content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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