Loss of Appetite During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, women often experience an enhancement in appetite. Yet, some women would experience loss of appetite, and reasons may vary during various trimesters. Loss of appetite during pregnancy, whether mild or severe, should be closely monitored since it's generally thought that a pregnant woman should have an increased appetite considering the baby she carrying. Read on to find out the causes and remedy options.

Loss of Appetite During Pregnancy Trimesters

1. First Trimester

Often, loss of appetite in pregnancy comes along with vomiting and nausea. Technically speaking, this is experienced by 70%-85% of pregnant women. The morning sickness a pregnant woman experiences is the body's natural way to protect the fetus from any harmful foods, which explains the food aversions that a pregnant woman commonly experiences. In addition, hormones increase (hCG and estrogen) can make a pregnant woman feel nausea and sensitive to smell, then decrease the appetite. She may even experience a somewhat metallic taste in her mouth.

2. Second Trimester

This is the most vital stage of pregnancy as the majority of the necessary developments of the baby occur all through this stage. Loss of appetite during pregnancy second trimester may be worrisome, because it is important to obtain enough nutrients to the fetus at this stage. Usually, it is due to the slowing down of the digestive system that causes loss of appetite, as the pressure of the developing uterus is increased in the lower region of the abdomen. This can further lead to constipation and loss in appetite. Other contributors to slow digestive process can be increased progesterone levels, greater absorption of water by the colon, and the possibility of constipation.

3. Third Trimester

A decrease in appetite during this phase of pregnancy may be possible for some women, because more space is occupied by the fast growing baby compared to the past trimesters. This causes the pressing of the stomach, resulting in the decrease in appetite.

When to See a Doctor

Continuous loss of appetite during pregnancy can be an indication of dehydration, fewer nutrients for baby, and negative effects on the growth and development of the baby. 

Women should consult their doctors if they are continuously being unable to retain food, lose weight, or often feel lightheaded. Pregnancy is associated with various discomforts, but if a pregnant woman is feeling continuously symptomatic, this might be an indication of a serious illness. There's no harm in asking!

How to Deal with Loss of Appetite during Pregnancy

Loss of appetite can be dealt with in easy ways. Don't force yourself to eat, opt for smaller nutritious meals when possible instead, which helps to reduce nausea. Just keep hydrated via water or fruit juice and consume more green vegetable to prevent constipation. Also, heavy foods should be avoided that may lead to indigestion.

1. Eat Frequent and Small Meals

This is the easiest nutritional balance way to retain the energy levels whendealing loss in appetite. Up to 7 small meals can be consumed by a pregnant woman per day. Small meals can be digested easily without causing vomiting or nausea because they pass easily from esophagus to the stomach and into the intestine without causing any heaviness. Specifically, ensure that your meals have sufficient nutrition instead of just empty calories.

2. Keep Hydrated

Dehydration or water loss can lead to numerous problems for a pregnant woman, including loss of appetite during pregnancy. On the contrary, if water is consumed at the right time it can lead to an increase in appetite. So, pregnant women should drink plenty of water to avoid several issues that are caused by dehydration, like kidney problems or urinary tract infection. Left untreated, UTI will remain throughout the pregnancy and may lead to severe problems during delivery.

3. Consume Light Food Instead

Some items of food do not lead to indigestion problems or nausea, like grains, boiled rice, vegetables and fruits. They are lighter on stomach and don't have powerful odors, as compared to dairy and meat products that are difficult to digest and have powerful odor that leads to nausea. Specifically, light food should be consumed during morning so that the morning sickness can be overcome.

4. Keep Away from Fast Food

Junk food is high in sodium that can also lead to a loss in appetite. Junk food may result in nutritional deficiencies, and women who crave for junk food often have lower levels of many other essential nutrients.

5. Take Necessary Nutritional Supplements

Nutritional supplement is the last resort for a woman who faces severe loss of appetite during pregnancy. For women who always hold a full feeling on stomach, nutritional supplements can help to fulfill the RDA for many of the minerals, vitamins and a few of the micro-nutrients to some degree such as the antioxidants.

Yet, you need to avoid certain nutritional supplements that can lead to gastrointestinal problems or indigestion. Iron is often linked with constipation and diarrhea, which can further lead to loss of appetite. Therefore, you may need to check the timings of nutritional supplements intake.

6. Take a Quick Walk

Quick walk is one of the best exercises to ensure good health during pregnancy. Avoiding any activity and being lazy may also leads to a loss in appetite. Quick walk will make it easier for the food to pass down through the GIT tract and will aid in reviving your appetite.

7. Get Sufficient Fiber

Consumption of a lot of foods rich in fiber (like sunflower seeds, asparagus, avocados, whole-grain bread and leafy greens) will have an easing effect on constipation and keep the system healthy.

8. Other Mom's Experience

"I have twins and am 5weeks/2days pregnant. I am experiencing extreme nausea. Initially I thought I'll just throw up, however, recently I lost it completely. I haven't had any appetite at all, literally, and typically just forcibly eat so that the babies get sufficient nutrients. As it is a high-risk pregnancy, I am even more concerned about whether what I am doing is the right thing to do. I do consume a lot of ice cold water, which tastes really nice for me. I take the prescribed prenatal vitamins at night time, which helps me in the mornings. Good luck to everyone!"

Another mom says like this:

"I am approximately 17 weeks pregnant, and my vomiting finally stopped at about week 15. My 16th week was the hardest even though I stopped vomiting; because I cried all the time without having any reason. My weight has reduced by 15 lbs within the past 17 weeks, and I am just unable to gain. I actually had food today after 3 days. I could drink but was being unable to eat. I've lost my appetite completely.

Though I am continuously losing weight, my doctor has assured me that my baby is getting all the sufficient nutrients it can possibly get from my body. The only drawback here is that I am being unable to get the sufficient nutrients that are required by my body to function properly. Even though I am tired and weak, I continue to truck on. My only solution is to eat whatever I can, and put down the rest. What depresses me is the money and food that I am in essence just throwing away."

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