If the first three months (first trimester) were all about nausea and vomiting at even the sight of food, the next three months will be all about eating with a vengeance. Most pregnant women experience excessive hunger pangs during the second trimester of pregnancy, coupled with intense cravings for various foods. Yes, all those stories that you heard about some woman driving her husband crazy over eating ice-cream in the midnight will come true for you too. Here is all you need to know about it.
Is It Normal To Have Hunger Pangs During Pregnancy?
Yes, it is. Many women experience an increased appetite during the pregnancy and there are scientific reasons behind it. No matter how often or how much you eat for the day, you may still feel your stomach grumbling and growling for some food. Sometimes, your empty stomach may even give you nausea.
What Causes Hunger Pangs During Pregnancy?
You need more food during your pregnancy as your body has higher requirements than before. As your body also becomes more efficient in sourcing energies from the calories you consume, you will feel empty often. When you have not consumed enough food or there are longer gaps between meals, then your stomach will also become empty quickly, resulting in the stomach walls rubbing against each other. This rubbing causes irritation, which is the hunger you feel. One of the reasons for the higher calorie requirement of the body is the growth of the baby.
10 Tips To Manage Increased Appetite During Pregnancy
- Eat frequently: Instead of following a breakfast – lunch – dinner food schedule, break your meals into six. This way you keep refilling your stomach and do not set hunger pangs on. Also, as your stomach grows bigger and presses on your digestive system, eating a large meal at one sitting can cause digestive issues like heartburn and bloating. Eat smaller meals regularly
- Drink frequently: Staying hydrated is extremely important during pregnancy. Often, when you feel hungry, you are actually feeling thirsty. Make sure you drink three to four litres of water every day and add other fluids to your daily diet
- Keep healthy snacks handy: If you go to office or travel, make sure you have healthy snacks handy in your bag. It could be nuts or dried fruits or energy bars. Get some ideas on Indian snacks and continental snacks and make your choice
- Make sure you pick your food smartly: There are many food items that can pose a danger to the pregnancy and have to be avoided. These food items include papaya, eggplant, pineapple, fennel seeds, sesame seeds, fenugreek seeds and certain fish (with high mercury content). For more details on this, read, 8 Indian Foods That Can Be Dangerous During Pregnancy
- Eat foods depending on the stage of pregnancy: As you move from the first month to the ninth month of pregnancy, your needs keep changing. For instance, in the first month of pregnancy, your baby’s neural tube develops – this means you need food high in folates. In the ninth month of pregnancy, your baby is gaining a lot of weight quickly. Hence you need protein rich food. For a more detailed looked at month-wise pregnancy chart, refer to our articles on foods to eat and avoid during First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth and Ninth month of pregnancy
- Avoid sugary snacks: It might easiest to reach for a chocolate or a cake when you face a hunger pang. While an occasional treat is okay, you need to ensure that you do not get habituated to sugary snacks. If you are having sugar cravings, there are many things you can do about it, such as having fruits. For more tips, read How to Handle Sweet Food Cravings During Pregnancy?
- Include energy foods: Fatigue and pregnancy go hand in hand. You can opt for some of these energy foods to keep yourself energetic through the day: Whole grains, hummus, oats, bananas etc. For more energy foods and how they help, read Best Energy Foods During Pregnancy
- Make a good diet plan: Your objective is not to avoid hunger, it is to eat nutritiously. So rather than eat a burger that you know will fill you up, eat something healthy that will improve your nutrition intake for the day, while also reducing your hunger. It is difficult to choose a healthy snack when you are hungry. So, be prepared and plan a good diet charter early on so that you eat healthily and you avoid hunger
- Indulge once in a while: Give into your heart’s desire once in a while. But do this rarely. Too many cheat meals are not going to help
- Watch your weight: Keep a track of your weight gain. While weight gain in normal during pregnancy, too much weight gain is not advisable. If you are snacking too much, you will see abnormal spikes in weight and this should give you warning signs
Did you know that we have written extensively about food and diet during pregnancy? For more interesting and informative read on this topic, read:
- The Pregnancy Food Pyramid
- Top 8 Ways To Deal With Food Cravings During Pregnancy
- Which Foods Can Help Induce Labor Naturally?