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Pregnant Not Eating Food 8 Smart Tips to Win over Appetite Loss

We know that it’s important to gain a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy to help grow your little seed into a fully-blossomed baby, and if Hollywood movies were an accurate representation of real life, gaining weight would be as easy as blinking. This isn’t always the case, however, as many women face a serious decrease in appetite that can make gaining enough weight a difficult task. If what you’re currently doing just isn’t helping your appetite, check out the items on this list.

Keep it fresh

Often, a decrease in appetite is connected to a heightened sense of smell and aversions to certain foods. Keeping your house — and especially your kitchen — fresh and airy can help prevent the appearance of certain smells that could trigger a lessening of your appetite. Simply opening a window or two could help bring in some fresh air in, but even lighting a candle in your kitchen could help bring some fresher, more desirable smells into your home. Lemon candles tend to be perfect, as the citrus smell may help settle your stomach.

Eat small meals

Whether your decreased appetite is a result of morning sickness or something else, breaking your three large meals down into more smaller, more frequent ones can help your stomach feel settled, but not overly full and uncomfortable. Eating small meals makes it easier to get the nutrients you need, and keep yourself energized in a way that’s easier on your stomach.


Have you ever run a marathon? Half-marathon? How about just a really tiring workout at the gym? We’ll stick with that one. Do you remember coming home from the gym and saying to yourself, “I could eat a horse, and a cow, and a cake?” That’s because exercise is one of the best natural ways to increase your appetite – your body needs to replace the calories it burned while working out, and you might get hungry as a result. So if you’re having trouble stomaching food, a bit of exercise might be just what the doctor ordered.

Little snacks

Though it might seem counter-intuitive, healthy light snacking can really help make your stomach feel better throughout the day, and give your appetite a boost. Light, high-protein foods like almonds are highly effective at helping to reduce morning sickness and nausea and the appetite decrease that may follow, so many veteran moms recommend snacking on them throughout the day in order to get the protein you need, and keep your stomach open for business.

Water, water, water, and some more water

Isn’t water the best? From fighting headaches to washing away cramps to transporting nutrients to your growing baby, water makes almost every pregnancy problem better. A decrease in appetite can become a vicious cycle, as not eating can make your stomach upset, which leads to a further decrease in appetite, and on and on, so drinking water throughout the day is a good way to make sure that your stomach isn’t completely empty. Having a BPA-free, non-toxic reusable water bottle is an excellent way to help make sure that you have easy access to water throughout the day.

Ginger tea, ginger candy, ginger anything

You didn’t think we would leave ginger off the list, did you? Ginger is known the world over for its stomach-settling, anti-nauseous properties, and is among the most highly recommended solutions for decreased appetite by pregnant women everywhere. Ginger is available in just about any form you can think of, from ginger ale, to ginger candies, to ginger lollipops, and more. Keeping your favorite ginger product nearby can be extremely helpful, as ginger can help settle your stomach instantly.

Use your good taste.

Sure, variety is usually the spice of a good nutritional life. But if spinach makes you queasy while you can stomach kale, by all means eat the kale. You’ll get back to the spinach soon enough.

Try some new foods

Although most of the items on this list focus on addressing a decreased appetite due to nausea and morning sickness, sometimes, it’s variety that’s the problem. It’s easy to get in a predictable food routine, especially when you’re pregnant and routine becomes the name of the game, and notice a drop in appetite. This issue can be solved as simply as adding some variety to your diet, with new foods and recipes. Pregnancy-specific recipe books can be very helpful in bringing some diversity to your diet, so you’ll be able to make every meal into a treat.

Have You Lost Your Appetite During Pregnancy?

If you’re dealing with appetite loss while you’re pregnant, don’t worry; it’s a common pregnancy symptom. Here’s what causes it and what you can do to keep gaining weight and getting the nutrition you need.

Always associated pregnancy with a voracious appetite for everything from pepperoni pizza to ice cream and pickles? Pregnancy is indeed that one special time of your adult life when gaining weight is applauded and eating every two hours is encouraged (lucky you!).

But just as you begin stocking your refrigerator with healthy foods (and yes, sometimes those not-so-healthy cookies you’re craving), loss of appetite — plus its common sidekick, morning sickness — strikes, turning your nose at the sight and smell of your favorite foods.

Gaining enough pregnancy weight is the major signal that you’re eating enough to support your baby’s needs. Depending on your pre-pregnancy weight, most normal-weight women should aim to tack on between 25 and 35 pounds.

During the first trimester, when morning sickness (known to many as all-day sickness) is at its worst, it’s common to only gain one to four pounds (or sometimes even lose weight). That’s okay. At this point your fetus is so tiny, it has fewer nutritional requirements — so as long as you’re taking your prenatal vitamin, you and baby-to-be should be covered.

After the first trimester, gaining about one pound per week is advised. If your appetite is still nowhere to be found by early in your second trimester, or if you aren’t meeting the recommended weight gain in your third trimester, consult your doctor for a diet plan.

Still worried? Don’t be. You’re going to have easy days and difficult days — the big picture is what’s important. The good news is that most women find they can manage appetite loss with a few tricks.

Loss of appetite during pregnancy in the first trimester

What causes loss of appetite in the first trimester?

Loss of appetite often comes hand-in-hand with morning sickness, and nausea and vomiting affects an estimated 75 percent of pregnant women. When you’re bent over a toilet on the regular, it’s no wonder your appetite is a bit shy.

More on What to Eat During Pregnancy

Morning sickness may be your body’s instinctual way of protecting the fetus from potentially harmful foods — explaining some of those food aversions women commonly experience.

Increasing pregnancy hormones (including estrogen and hCG — the ones responsible for making you cry at that car commercial) also play a role in increasing nausea and your sensitivity to smell while decreasing your appetite. You may even have a metallic taste in your mouth.

How can I meet my nutritional needs in the first trimester if I’ve lost my appetite?

Here are some tips to get the pregnancy nutrients you and your baby need if you’re not very hungry early on:

Drink up. Ensuring you consume enough liquids is more important than a aiming for a certain caloric intake. Though it really depends on you and your lifestyle, try to aim for around eight to 10 8-ounce glasses a day from all sources, including vegetables and fruits (just be mindful of your sugar intake on the latter). Warm water with lemon or ginger, ginger ale or ginger tea can be good substitutes for plain water if you’re nauseous. Always check in with your doctor before sipping any herbal tea or other drink, however, as some are off-limits during pregnancy.

Don’t overdo it. Eat six small meals a day (your body will probably let off hunger signals every two hours), which will satisfy your small appetite — instead of force-feeding yourself larger portions of food.

Eat lightly. For the moments during the day when your appetite makes a brief appearance, consume as much protein and complex carbs as you can, which will keep your blood sugar stable and you fuller for a bit longer. Fruits such as bananas may also be easier to stomach; pair with a spoonful of yogurt for added calcium and protein. Whole grain or plain crackers are almost always your friend.

Avoid strong-smelling foods. That includes spicy and fatty dishes — which may mean skipping fast food staples like burgers, fries and chicken nuggets. Instead, opt for a salad with grilled chicken or salmon, if you can stomach it.

Use your good taste. Sure, variety is usually the spice of a good nutritional life. But if spinach makes you queasy while you can stomach kale, by all means eat the kale. You’ll get back to the spinach soon enough.

Change the temperature. Many women prefer their foods and drinks chilled when they’re pregnant, while others like it hot. If you fit one of those categories, adjust your diet accordingly.

Take your vitamin. Make taking your prenatal vitamin as routine as brushing your teeth. Ideally, start taking it at least a month before conception, or at a minimum, at the time of conception, to help fill in temporary nutritional gaps.

Get additional help. To help combat nausea, talk to your doctor about taking a special prenatal vitamin with extra B6. Or ask about prescription medications, which contain a combination of vitamin B and antihistamine that may help decrease nausea and increase your appetite.

Loss of appetite during pregnancy in the second trimester

What causes loss of appetite in the second trimester?

Many women find that this is the golden period of pregnancy — you’re showing and glowing but without the watermelon-sized baby bump yet.

Even better news: Lots of pregnant moms find that their appetite returns; gone are the mornings (and afternoons … and evenings) spent doubled over in the ladies’ room. In fact, you may be more ravenous these days than ever (so this is what it means to eat for two!).

That said, not everyone has that seemingly insatiable second-trimester appetite. If you find you’re still queasy and not very hungry a lot of the time, keep up your routine from the first trimester.

Also common starting toward the end of the second trimester: Feeling fuller and short of breath soon after eating because of your growing baby and uterus, which affects your appetite.

How can I meet my nutritional needs in the second trimester if I’ve lost my appetite?

If you’re still experiencing appetite loss, continue those first-trimester rituals:

Drink plenty of water.

Eat small portions and smaller but more frequent meals.

Stand up while eating.

Avoid strong-smelling, fatty and spicy foods.

Make smart nutritional swaps.

Take your prenatal vitamin daily to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you and your baby need.

Once your tummy settles and your appetite is more normal, it’s a good time to focus on getting enough of the most important nutrients, including:

Calcium: 1,200 mg a day (including what you get from your prenatal vitamin)

Protein: 75 g a day

Folate: 400 to 600 mcg from all sources (if you choose high-fiber foods like legumes and green leafy veggies, it may help with pregnancy constipation)

Omega 3: 200 to 300 mg daily from all sources, to boost baby’s brain power (try for two servings of pregnancy-safe fish a week as soon as you can stomach it)

Loss of appetite during pregnancy in the third trimester

What causes loss of appetite in the third trimester?

During the final months of your pregnancy, nausea has most likely disappeared — and been replaced by your growing belly. Your appetite may be fully back with a vengeance, but often after only a few bites, you feel full and short of breath (which may have begun toward the end of the second trimester).

That’s because your growing uterus leaves little room for the rest of your organs, including your stomach. Add to that the onset of pregnancy-induced heartburn caused by this displacement (which can turn spicy or fried foods and citrus fruits into your enemy), along with hormonally-induced constipation (which can make things slow down so much you don’t feel like filling up again).

While the third trimester brings less appetite loss than you experienced in the first trimester and more appetite hindrance, eating well can still be pretty tricky, though it’s still important.

How can I meet my nutritional needs in the third trimester if I’ve lost my appetite?

Think small.

Just as you did during the first 12 weeks, aim for small meals throughout the day so you stay full and get enough of the essential nutrients. You won’t be able to eat much more as your stomach is quickly being squished, but you will likely have more luck if you graze throughout the day. And especially now that your nausea is gone, check that your meals pack a nutritional punch rather than just consuming empty calories.

Fill up on fiber.

Continuing to eat plenty of fiber-rich foods (think leafy greens, whole grain bread, avocados, asparagus and sunflower seeds) will ease constipation and keep all systems a-go.

Try standing up when you eat.

It may be more comfortable to eat while you’re standing rather than sitting so you’re putting less pressure on your already growing tummy.

Drink lots of liquids (also good if you’re stopped up) like you did in the first trimester.

Keep taking your prenatal vitamin.

This is still very important and helps you get the vitamins and minerals you and your baby need even when you’re not able to eat as much.

You may often feel like eating is yet another thing to check off your to-do list. That’s normal. But it’s a small to-do with a big payoff: a healthy, thriving baby.

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