Food aversions and cravings are common and expected in pregnancy. However, morning sickness can cause some pregnant mothers to experience an extreme loss of appetite during pregnancy 1st trimester. The first trimester is the worst hit since the pregnancy hormones are just settling in.
Loss of appetite in early pregnancy can be alarming and frustrating. You’ve heard of people who hated seafood all their life and suddenly they can’t have enough of shrimps. During pregnancy, you’re allowed to and lauded for eating for two.
Unfortunately, some people can barely eat for one. The very thought of food becomes appalling and nothing seems to stay down.
What happens then when you don’t crave anything at all and can’t keep anything in your tummy peacefully? And what is the cause for appetite changes in pregnancy?
Loss Of Appetite During Pregnancy 1st Trimester
What causes loss of appetite in early pregnancy?
Appetite loss during pregnancy is quite common. And it comes with its cousin, morning sickness. Throwing up every morning is not fun, and that can be one reason your appetite gets suppressed.
Women suffering from morning sickness are frequently nauseated and vomit a lot. Some women will fear to eat because of the vomiting that accompanies it, especially when away from home.
Issues like prepartum depression, mood swings, as well as anxiety, are often experienced during pregnancy. These issues can have an impact on one’s food tolerance and intake.
Having relationship issues while you are pregnant will increase your stress levels. Stress can make a pregnant woman lean more towards less healthy foods.
Fear of gaining too much weight
Weight gain during pregnancy is inevitable; after all, you are carrying life. Doctors also encourage healthy weight gain.
Even then, some women fear gaining too much weight while they are pregnant. Therefore, they will resort to suppressing their appetite during pregnancy.
Increase in hormones
The high levels in hormones such as leptin and the primary pregnancy hormone, Hcg, may drastically reduce hunger levels.
An increase in the production of progesterone also affects the whole digestion process. The colon has to absorb more water, which makes the digestion process sluggish.
An increase in iron intake
If you are pregnant, your doctor will likely give you iron supplements. An increase in iron levels in the body may cause bloating, leading to loss of appetite during 1st trimester.
If you are pregnant and are on medications, they may have an impact on your appetite. They could be the reason you are experiencing a loss of appetite during early pregnancy.
For instance, if you are taking Zoloft or Prozac for anxiety or depression, they may suppress your appetite. Such drugs could be the reason why you don’t feel like eating during pregnancy first trimester.
What To Do When You Have No Appetite While Pregnant
Despite having no desire to eat at all, your body needs the nourishment. Failure to eat is not an option. Here are some tips to help deal with the loss of appetite during pregnancy 1st trimester.
Take your supplements religiously
In the early months, the nutritional needs aren’t so much. The fetus is still quite small. At this point though, the baby is developing rapidly. The most important supplement at this stage is folic acid.
It’s during this trimester that the fetus starts developing a brain and spinal cord. Other organs start forming and the baby’s heart starts beating. In the first 8 weeks, the arms, legs, fingers, and toes begin to sprout.
As the pregnancy progresses, weight gain will be paramount. Eating will be a major requirement to achieve this.
Take enough healthy liquids
At times the inability to eat during pregnancy does not include fluids. If you can stomach those, drink them all. Water is the most important of all as it helps keep Urinary tract Infections at bay.
I know sometimes water tastes like someone peed in it. You can throw in a slice of lemon or ginger to change the plain taste to something palatable.
Be careful with herbal teas as some of them are outright taboo for pregnant women. Check with your obstetrician first if you need to indulge in a certain herbal tea so that he may advise you accordingly.
The point is to get enough nutrients without throwing it all up. You can make juices and smoothies with all the vegetables and fruits you can imagine. Well, those that you can bear the taste.
You’re allowed to be weird with your food preferences; no one is judging you at this time. We will save our judgment for the time you choose a baby name we think is way odd. Actually, here are some articles you will love if you are looking for unique baby names.
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Stay away from strong smells
The loss of appetite and nausea in early pregnancy can be made worse if you are trying to eat foods with strong smells.
This does not only refer to garlic, onions, and fish. Fried, spicy foods such as French fries, burgers, and hot-dogs might not be the best option.
I’d advise you to settle for mild or odorless foods such as salads. If frying the food is making you queasy, eat it boiled. It will be more nutritionally enriching anyway.
Ensure all your foods are fresh. Moldy or sour smells in last week’s vegetables might make things worse for an already sensitive stomach.
Eat small meals
A loss of appetite during pregnancy can be made easier if you eat small portions at a time. An overly full stomach is uncomfortable for anyone, pregnant or not.
Keep your stomach settled by splitting your meals into tiny smaller meals instead of three compulsory large meals per day. Make your meals an ongoing snack affair.
Do not eat too much food close to your sleeping hours. You need to have your food digested before you go to bed to keep your stomach settled.
Chill it or heat it up
Chilled food often times goes down much easily than hot or lukewarm food. Room temperature food is the hardest to go down. In my first trimester, I may have basically survived on ice cream and passion flavored soda.
If you find it easier to eat food chilled, by all means, chill it all. If your stomach cannot stand anything cold but wants all food hot, heat it up. Boil your avocado if you have to!
Adjust food to the temperature you feel your tongue agreeing to without setting your gag reflex into overdrive.
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Experiment with different foods
Pregnancy makes us do the strangest of things. Try experimenting with foods you may not have given thought of before.
Variety is key when your choices are so limited. If you feel like you could eat a certain food, look for others with the same texture and try. You might just surprise yourself.
Not having choices could increase frustration with food. Knowing you only have a choice between kale or spinach, corn flakes or oats, macaroni or rice can be overwhelming.
Throw in some exotic healthy foods and see how your tummy and gag reflex respond.
Sweat it out
If you have no appetite while pregnant, drive yourself to hunger with exercise. A cardio work-out may be the push your body needs.
When you exercise, you burn fats and calories. Your body needs to replace the lost energy, you will feel hungry and thirsty as a result.
If you had been exercising pre-pregnancy, keep at it. It may help abate the lack of appetite in early pregnancy.
Keep the exercises non-vigorous. Do not go skiing or bike riding. A walk, swimming or dancing are some of the very good exercises that will give you an appetite while helping you maintain a belly only pregnancy.
It could be ginger tea, ginger biscuits, or candy. About anything with ginger. Ginger helps in settling your upset stomach, and it also contains anti-nauseous properties.
It is highly recommended for loss of appetite during the first trimester. If possible, take it in its natural form. Still, if that’s not available, take in the form that you can easily access.
Reach out for your favorite ginger product anytime you have a stomach upset for the needed relief.
Eat crackers before getting out of bed
If you can stand crackers, they do help with morning sickness. Keep some at your bedside and reach out a few minutes before getting out of bed.
Nibble on them for about 10 minutes while still in bed. Crackers help with nausea suppression, and you may end up eating your breakfast after all.
Eat plenty of fiber-filled foods
If there is any fiber kind of food you find palatable, eat plenty of that. Some foods rich in fiber include; avocados, whole grain bread, asparagus, and leafy greens.
Not only will they keep you fuller for longer, but it will also ease bloating and keep your systems functioning at their optimum.
Eat pears, apples, and prunes
These fruits are not only a great source of fiber, but they do have a laxative effect on the body. The fiber found in these fruits keeps the digestive tract running smoothly and may help make your stool soft and easy to pass.
And the great thing about the above fruits is that they are low glycemic fruits. They will not spike your blood sugar right after you have consumed them.
When should you be concerned?
If the loss of appetite during early pregnancy is occasional, there is no need to be worried as long as you are eating a well-balanced diet every day.
Still, some pregnant women will only loss their appetite in the first trimester for certain foods. This is quite normal in pregnancy and should not be a cause of concern.
You can substitute those foods you cannot bear with others to give you the same nutritional value.
Even so, if you are skipping your meals often, you need to see a doctor. Your body needs to get enough nutrients to support you and your baby.
Will loss of appetite in first trimester affect my baby’s growth?
No appetite while pregnant is a cause of concern. This is more so when it is accompanied by nausea and vomiting, which can affect your baby’s intra-uterine growth. Nausea and vomiting are often associated with a lower weight gain in pregnancy, as is recommended. Although studies are inconclusive, adverse birth outcomes are associated with severe loss of appetite while pregnant.
If you pregnant and have to deal with poor appetite most of the time, you also risk anemia.
Do not let the loss of appetite during pregnancy 1st trimester take your joy. You will have 40 weeks, give or take, to bake this baby in your body. Live in the moment and solve one problem at a time.
Anxiety and panic that you’re not doing the right thing or feeling the right type of way will make things harder.
As long as the baby is healthy and you’re adding weight steadily, you don’t have to worry. Sleep now, colic, poop bombs, and heart-melting giggles await you.
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