To keep you and your growing baby healthy, it’s important to watch out for symptoms of not eating enough while pregnant. Here’s what to know.
If pregnancy has affected your relationship with food, you’re not alone.
It’s common for your appetite to increase or decrease, and to instinctively or deliberately avoid certain foods.
While it’s possible to eat too much during pregnancy, it’s also possible to eat too little.
This can be quite dangerous, so it’s important to watch out for the symptoms of not eating enough while pregnant.
We’ll take you through the details.
In this article: 📝
- Is loss of appetite a sign of pregnancy?
- What causes your appetite to change during pregnancy?
- What are some of the signs that you’re not eating enough during pregnancy?
- What happens if you don’t eat enough while you’re pregnant?
- How can you help your body get enough food while pregnant?
Is loss of appetite a sign of pregnancy?
Yes, it can be.
Many women (both those who experience nausea and vomiting and those who don’t) can feel disinterested in food in the early days of pregnancy.
What causes your appetite to change during pregnancy?
There are quite a few reasons you might experience changes in your appetite during pregnancy.
These can vary depending on where you’re at in your pregnancy.
In the first trimester
This, as you can imagine, can make you feel very disinterested in food.
The changes you’re going through hormonally can also affect your appetite.
In the second trimester
While your nausea may have subsided by now (if it hasn’t, be sure to chat to your doctor), your growing baby might be putting some pressure on your stomach.
This can make you feel uncomfortable enough not to eat.
The rise of progesterone — a key sex hormone that supports pregnancy — can also make you constipated, which might affect how appealing food sounds.
In the third trimester
Your squashed stomach and levels of constipation might get a little bit worse in your third trimester (sorry, mama!), and could continue to affect how hungry you feel.
Pregnancy can also be a difficult time.
Another thing to be aware of is that a fear of gaining too much weight during pregnancy can also trigger disordered eating, whether you have a history of it or not.
If you’re struggling, it’s really important that you reach out for help.
You don’t have to go through these changes alone.
There are many organizations that can support you.
And your Peanut community is here for you wherever you’re at in your journey.
What are some of the signs that you’re not eating enough during pregnancy?
If you’re finding it difficult to tell whether you’re eating enough during your pregnancy, here are some of the symptoms to look out for:
1. You’re not gaining weight
Gaining weight while you’re pregnant is healthy.
Women with an average BMI should gain between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy, says the CDC.
If your weight is staying the same or dropping, talk to your doctor.
2. You’re hungry all the time
This might sound a little obvious, but if your body’s constantly giving you hunger cues, it might be because you’re not eating enough.
3. You’re constipated
Feeling constipated can be a sign that there isn’t enough food in your digestive system.
It can mean that what little food there is in your intestinal tract is moving quite slowly.
(It’s important to note that constipation and pregnancy go hand in hand anyway.
So just because you’re backed up, it doesn’t mean you’re not getting the food you need.
If you’re worried, chat with your healthcare provider to get to the source of your symptoms together and find relief.)
4. You’re tired or not sleeping well
If your body doesn’t have enough food in it, you’ll likely battle to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Feeling constantly fatigued is also a sign that you’re lacking key nutrients.
5. Your hair and nails are weak
If your hair is thinning or falling out and your nails feel brittle, your body probably isn’t getting the nutrients it needs — protein especially.
6. You’re getting sick all the time
Getting sick too often can also be a sign that your body doesn’t have the internal resources it needs to fight off the bugs that come your way.
It’s worth keeping an eye on how long it takes you to get better, too.
If your body takes ages to recover from a simple cold, it’s possible that your food intake might be the cause.
7. You feel cold all the time
A healthy body with a strong metabolism is able to regulate its core temperature well.
People who don’t eat enough food tend to feel colder more often.
8. You’re showing signs of iron deficiency
Anemia is a condition where you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen around your body.
It may be caused by an iron deficiency which can be linked to various complications during pregnancy, including postpartum depression.
Low iron can also negatively affect your baby’s weight and development.
If you’re feeling fatigued and dizzy, or notice that your skin has a pale or yellowish color, talk to your doctor.
Other signs of iron deficiency anemia include shortness of breath and a desire to chew ice.
What happens if you don’t eat enough while you’re pregnant?
Eating enough — and enough of the right foods — is important for you and your growing baby.
If you battle to eat nutrient-rich foods during your pregnancy, this could affect the health of your baby.
Babies who don’t get enough food while they’re growing might be born early, for example.
This could affect their growth and development, and they might get sick more easily.
How can you help your body get enough food while pregnant?
If you’re feeling physically unwell during large parts of your pregnancy, eating enough can be a real challenge.
If this is the case, make sure your doctor knows what you’re going through, mama.
They will be able to give you advice on how to get the nutrition you need.
You can also try to eat small, simple meals throughout the day that are full of fiber.
Think of leafy green veggies like spinach, kale, and broccoli, fresh fruit, whole grains, avocados, asparagus, and sunflower seeds.
These foods aren’t only full of the vitamins you need but may also help with constipation if that’s what you’re battling.
They’ll help to give your body some added support if you’re battling to get the vitamins you need through your diet alone.
While some changes to your appetite and food preferences are totally normal, eating regularly and healthily throughout your pregnancy is important.
If you’ve noticed you’re experiencing any of these symptoms of not eating enough while pregnant, take care of yourself, mama.
And remember to reach out if you need support.