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During pregnancy, your stomach sometimes almost feels like a black hole. Being pregnant means that you are constantly hungry, you never feel full, and want to try the weirdest food combinations to eat! But fear not, because increased pregnancy hunger is completely normal. Read on to learn why and how pregnancy hunger increases, and how to deal with it.
Does it feel like you’re never going to get full? Having an increased appetite during pregnancy is pretty common, especially during the second trimester when your morning sickness is fading, and 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 Increase in Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, your pregnancy hunger usually increases by the second trimester , however some women experience it as early as in the first trimester. But commonly, it happens during the second trimester because it is around the time your morning nausea usually ends and hunger pangs start so that you can regain the weight you lost in the first trimester.
Is It Common To Have An Early Pregnancy Hunger?
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 levels of hunger. After vomiting, you will feel sudden hunger pangs because your 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.
During pregnancy, women have higher blood levels and need to eat calories to maintain themselves. This leads to intense hunger and food cravings. Usually, this happens between weeks 7 and 12, where you start liking and craving for other food and also might start disliking foods you previously liked. 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.
Why Do You Feel Hungry All the Time During Pregnancy?
- The number one cause of an increase in appetite during the second trimester of pregnancy 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 pregnancy.
Important Facts About 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 absolutely 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!
How To Control Hunger During Pregnancy?
Here are some tips that you can use to keep your pregnancy 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 350 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 is demanding more fluids. You will need to provide the fluids in your body, so remember to drink 12 to 13 cups of water a day. Drink more if you live in a warm climate and sweat a lot. Also, avoid any sugary drinks like sodas, and stick to fresh juices or water.
3. Having Healthy Meals
Remember to make sure that your pregnancy diet is healthy as well as filling instead of just being filling. Go for fresh whole foods in place of processed or refined ones. For energy, have whole grains or fruit 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 need to carry a packet of nuts or trail mix 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 falling back on unhealthy junk food, you should go for this healthy alternative.
5. Eat Frequent But Small Meals
Instead of eating huge amounts during one sitting, try to spread out your meals into mini-meals over three hours. The former will lead to more bloating, gas, 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 vitamin 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 adding junk food to your shopping cart or your kitchen cabinet. Keep it out of sight and out of mind!
8. Watch Your Pregnancy Weight
Seeing that you will inevitably gain weight during your pregnancy, make sure that your eating habits are not the 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 notice that you are gaining weight way too fast.
Follow the above-mentioned tips to handle your 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.
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.
1. Managing Your Weight When Pregnant
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 often but in moderation.
- Always stay hydrated. Avoid any sugary or soda drinks. Go for some plain old water.
- It’s okay to accept cravings, but make them constructive.
- Remember to exercise. An easy way to stay active in 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 to gain.
2. Try To Eat Less and Still Feel Full
To keep yourself full, you don’t have to 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.
3. 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.
4. 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 indulge in large meals during this time, rather eat six small meals a day.
5. Busy your mind
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.
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!Increased Appetite!