The science behind loss of appetite during pregnancy



Being pregnant is a blissful feeling. The joy of conceiving a baby and the excitement to plan ahead is something that cannot be expressed in words.

However, your pregnancy journey will not be devoid of bumps and challenges.

As you step into your first trimester and then to the next, you’ll realise that the path to conceiving is not that easy.

Besides the physical ailments, you may become prone to a lot of stress and anxiety, which may then lead to many other difficulties and problems. One of them being loss of appetite.

The unwillingness to eat and the feeling of repulsion at the sight of food is a common problem faced by most pregnant women.

But why does it happen is a question that erupts in every woman’s mind. Here’s a guide to help you figure it out.

A female body undergoes many changes during pregnancy

When it comes to a female body, becoming pregnant is the next big milestone after menstruation. A pregnant body experiences a lot of hormonal changes and alters the way your body looks. Besides the enlargement of the breasts, a pregnant woman’s abdomen transforms into a convex form, increasing the curvature at the back.

Given the many changes that occur during pregnancy, a pregnant woman may experience a lot of discomfort and might have to alter her ways of living. Additionally, high fluctuations in hormones like leptin and the main pregnancy hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) can decrease hunger levels and trigger cramps and nausea, commonly experienced in the initial months of pregnancy.

Loss of appetite is a common occurrence, causes may differ

While eating healthy and staying sane is extremely important during pregnancy, loss of appetite is a common phenomenon that may cause serious problems to a woman’s health.

If you’re pregnant, there are many causes behind why you don’t feel the urge to eat, instead it may be repulsive to even look at a certain kind of food.

That said, there are several factors that may lead to appetite loss in pregnant women.

1. Medications

Certain types of medications, which are safe to have during pregnancy may cause side effects like appetite loss.

Considering a pregnant woman is on medications and/or is immunocompromised, their eating patterns can change and they may experience appetite loss. Some medications can lead to decreased appetite and cause nausea, vomiting and dizziness. That said, doctors often recommend pregnant women to go slow on their medications and to avoid self-medication.

2. Nausea

As per a 2017 study, it was found that 70% of women who suffer from severe nausea complain of decreased food-intake during their pregnancy. Morning sickness, nausea and vomiting are some of the common symptoms experienced early in pregnancy. This could in turn reduce cravings and trigger a feeling of distaste. Women who have a chronic condition of nausea may be more prone to appetite loss during pregnancy.

3. Poor mental health

Many people hold psychological problems responsible for appetite loss in pregnant women. Given the discomfort, stress and anxiety during pregnancy, women are said to lose their interest in foods. Some women also experience depression. Prepartum or postpartum depression is said to be a leading cause of appetite loss. This could seriously affect their health and mental well-being.

Additionally, pregnant women who are conscious about their weight may suffer with anorexia and bulimia, disorderly eating habits that can take a toll on both the body and the mind.

How to manage?

It is never a good solution to skip meals, especially during pregnancy. Not eating enough means depriving your body of all the nutrition and energy-inducing foods that are important for your fetal health.

If you are someone who experiences nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, you can choose to eat in small quantities rather than skipping your meals. Whatever amount of food you eat, include all the nutrients and bulk up on your fibre-intake.

Drink a lot of water, so you stay hydrated. Add some lemon to it, to get rid of the nausea and feeling of vomit.

Additionally, you can always seek medical help. Consult your doctor and ask them to advise you on the same.

Recommended for you