Skip to content

A Complete Guide On The Symptoms Of Not Eating Enough While Pregnant

Table of Contents

Symptoms Of Not Eating Enough While Pregnant

Symptoms of not eating enough while pregnant

Introduction: Symptoms of not eating enough while Pregnant

We are sure you’ve heard of the pregnancy cravings that an expecting woman experiences throughout her trimester days. However, you’d be surprised to know that most women, on the other hand, do not eat enough or don’t wish to consume any food, resulting in the loss of weight which could cause birth defects.

This is why it’s rather important for expecting moms to be aware of the symptoms of not eating enough while pregnant to help keep a check on their health and prevent any disorders. For this reason, we have curated this article that includes the red flags, urging you to get back on your meals.

But before we dive into the symptoms, let’s first understand the root cause of it all, through the pregnancy trimesters.

What Causes Pregnant Women to Lack Sufficient Food Intake During Pregnancy?

The fluctuating appetite is quite normal to experience during pregnancy, given the numerous physical and physiological changes she goes through; let’s not also forget the emotional roller coaster, courtesy of the pregnancy hormones.

However, in addition to the lack of interest in food consumption, it could cause repercussions, as well. Listed below are the possible reasons for not feeling hungry, throughout the trimester:

1. First Trimester of Pregnancy

Although the mind and the body don’t show any obvious changes in the first trimester, the hormones are still at play. Here are the reasons for not feeling hungry during the initial stages of pregnancy-

  • Loss of appetite due to morning sickness and nausea affects more than ¾th of pregnant women in the first trimester.

  • The rise and fall of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) during pregnancy.

  • Mood swings, anxiety, and depression can also decrease the appetite and a reduced intake of nutrient-dense foods.

Note – Make sure to read more about morning sickness and nausea!

2) Second Trimester Of Pregnancy

The second trimester is considered the best of the three trimesters since the morning sickness disappears and the energy levels are restored. Nevertheless, most women tend to experience a lack of appetite due to:

  • The increasing size of the uterus starts to put pressure on the stomach. This can contribute to loss of appetite.
  • The increase in the levels of progesterone hormone that contribute to constipation can cause loss of appetite.
  • Certain medications, even though safe during pregnancy could contribute to a decrease in appetite.

3) Third Trimester Of Pregnancy

The third trimester marks the phase of fetal growth. Therefore, if not eaten enough, it could cost the weight of your baby. Here is the possible reason for you not to feel hungry in this crucial trimester:

  • The maxing out of the uterus puts immense pressure on the stomach and the small intestine.
  • The peak levels of progesterone-induced are with constipation.
  • The third trimester is when the weight is at its very best, however, if a to-be mom fears the gain, it could result in her limiting her diet.

11 Symptoms of Not Eating Enough While Pregnant

Symptoms of not eating enough while Pregnant

Listed below are the 11 reasons as per the medical advice that indicate the reasons for not eating enough while pregnant.

1) No Weight Gain

During pregnancy, it is expected for the mother-to-be to gain weight. In other words, optimal weight gain is one of the signs of a healthy pregnancy. On the flip side, if you are losing weight instead of gaining weight, it is one of the symptoms of not eating enough while pregnant. Even if there is no physical weight loss, there is a chance to be malnourished if you are not eating as per the expectations.

2) Are Hungry All The Time

If you feel hungry all the time, it’s a strong indication that you are not eating enough. Simply math, if you do not feed your body, enough for two, you’d surely be hungry all the time.

3) Constipation

Insufficient intake of food can lead to constipation since there are insufficient waste products to help produce stool. In other words, if the food is comparatively less in the digestive tract, it slows down the movement of the waste.

4) Are Tired and Dizzy Most of The Times

Fatigue and dizziness are classic symptoms of not eating enough while pregnant. If there is less food intake, there is less energy which leaves you both hungry and weak. This would lead to you finding it extremely hard to concentrate and coordinate thoughts and bodily functions. You could also make yourself feel shaky, and lightheaded, alongside being weak. Here, the key is to have a healthy diet for a healthy pregnancy.

5) You Are Mostly Cold

Do you often feel cold? If yes, then it could be a sign of you not consuming as per the expectations. Our body requires enough energy to kickstart the metabolism and to help maintain the optimum temperature of the body. Therefore, if you are not eating enough, your calorie intake will be significantly low which could affect the temperature regulation of the body.

6) Loss Of Hair And Brittle Nails

Most women who do not have a proper intake of food during pregnancy tend to affect the levels of protein as well, resulting in loss of hair and brittle nails. Therefore, if you notice these issues, it is a sign of inadequate intake of food.

7) Disturbed Sleep

If you tend to go to bed without having eaten enough during pregnancy, even though the body goes to rest, the mind will stay alert with hunger pains. These could wake you up in the middle of the night and trigger many health issues.

8) Mood Swings

Pregnant women are expected to have mood swings but not eating enough could aggravate them. As per medically reviewed, the reason behind this is the decrease in the levels of blood glucose that increases the production of cortisol and adrenaline. If and when these hormones are released, it contributes to mood swings and irritability.

9) Anemia

Pregnancy marks the time when women are more susceptible to iron deficiency and anemia, and not eating enough affects iron first. This is the reason why most pregnant women are expected to consume foods that are high in iron. Inadequate iron could cause complications during pregnancy.

10) Compromised Immunity With Low Birth Weight

Not eating enough during pregnancy can take a toll on the immunity of the mother, even while pregnant, the immunity is anyhow low. That means, if you do not eat enough, you will not receive nutrients like vitamin A that help one fight off the illness and the baby may also get affected.

This is why many women who visit their doctor due to the occurrence of infection are called out due to the less intake of food. Given the situation, even common colds could take time to cure due to the failed nutrition requirement of the body.

11) Unhealthy Skin

Last but not least on our list is unhealthy skin, caused due to the lack of food intake during pregnancy. If there is no sufficient amount of prenatal vitamins and nutrients, such as thymine, biotin, and vitamin E, it could affect the health of the skin. Here, dry and scaly skin are common effects not the lack of a healthy diet during the trimester.

A Final Word on Symptoms of not eating enough while pregnant

To prevent a low birth weight, fallouts in the first trimester, lack of prenatal vitamins, calories, unnecessary vomiting, etc., it is important for the mama bears to have a good diet and drink enough fluids. Understandably, rich foods could be troublesome for a few moms as they fear fatty growth in their bodies, but we must understand that it is only for the better to maintain a healthy diet. There are a few exercises that you could do during your pregnancy to maintain fitness as well as keep the baby and yourself healthy and safe.

Symptoms Of Not Eating Enough While Pregnant FAQs

1) What happens if an expecting mom doesn't eat enough during pregnancy?

As we all know, there are specific needs for both the pregnant woman and the developing fetus to have healthy growth, and not eating a sufficient amount of food during pregnancy can have dire consequences. This includes an increased chance of malnutrition, deficiency in nutrients, disturbed sleep, unhealthy immune system, etc.
Fetus leaches vital minerals such as calcium from the bones of the mother that could increase the risk of osteoporosis in the future, affect the lactation phase after delivery and fail to produce enough milk too.

2) Would it affect the baby if the mama doesn't eat enough during her pregnancy?

Yes, if you do not eat enough as expected, there could be harmful consequences for your little one, even after they are born. These include hindering the baby’s healthy growth, damaging their development, unhealthy or low birth weight, as well as issues with mental function in children. It could also cause the fetus to develop physical growth abnormalities and increase the chance of preterm labor.

3) Can not eat enough cause miscarriage?

Not eating enough food during pregnancy can affect nutritional intake which then affects the development of the fetus, risking miscarriage. This could also bring about premature delivery and low birth weight. Having said that, there is no evidence to say not eating enough while pregnant causes miscarriage.

4) What are the indications of not eating enough during pregnancy?

The lack of weight gain during pregnancy is one of the important physical signs of not eating enough during pregnancy. Not eating enough also affects the levels of energy and can make you feel lethargic almost all of the time. Inadequate nutrition can cause health issues, such as anemia, hair loss, increased mood swings, disturbed sleep, waking at midnight due to hunger, irritation, etc, which can be counted as signs of not eating well. For more, refer to the article above!

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.

Share this Article

Disclaimer: All content found on our website is published for informational and/or educational purposes only; not intended to serve or offer any form of professional/competent advice. We put in every effort to ensure that all information is just, accurate, fool-proof, useful, and updated but do not assume responsibility or liability, to loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence of information provided. Parenthoodbliss may earn commissions from affiliate links in the content.

Rectangle 22

Did not find what you were looking for?

Drop-in your request and we will be happy to write it down for you!