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Appetite decrease during pregnancy

Although most women's appetites increase during pregnancy, a decrease in appetite is actually very common, particularly in the first trimester.

What causes it?

There are a number of different explanations for experiencing a decrease in appetite during pregnancy, of which many are most common during the first trimester.

  • Morning sickness: Most commonly experienced in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, nausea and morning sickness is bound to hamper the appetite of many women. It can be very difficult to eat much food when battling with persistent nausea or vomiting.
  • Aversions: Common in the first trimester but also possibly continuing throughout pregnancy, food aversions may make it harder to eat much food, particularly if the object of your aversion is highly prevalent.
  • Heightened sense of smell: Often going hand-in-hand with morning sickness and food aversions, a heightened sense of smell might contribute to a loss of appetite.
  • Growing baby: Most common later in pregnancy, the pressure applied to the abdomen by the growing baby may result in a decrease in appetite.


Although it's important to gain enough weight during pregnancy, particularly in the second and third trimesters, it's pretty common to notice a decrease in appetite at times. If due to nausea and morning sickness, you can try talking to your healthcare provider about using Vitamin B6 or try ginger supplements, including ginger tea or lozenges, to curb the nausea and make eating easier. You may want to talk to your healthcare provider to devise a strategy to help you eat more, and gain enough weight.


If you are losing weight, consistently unable to keep down food, or find yourself often feeling lightheaded then it may be time to contact your healthcare provider. Pregnancy comes with a number of discomforts, but feeling consistently symptomatic might be a sign of a greater illness. It never hurts to ask!

Reviewed by Dr. Jamie Lo
Read more
  • E Ernst, MH Pittler. "Efficacy of ginger for nausea and vomiting: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials." British Journal of Anaesthesia. 84(3):367-71. Web. Mar-00.
  • "Some tips to deal with pregnancy nausea and vomiting." MayoClinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Aug 2008. Web. Accessed 6/28/17. Available at 
  • TM Bayley, et al. "Food cravings and aversions during pregnancy: relationships with nausea and vomiting." Appetite. 38(1):45-51. Web. Feb 2002. Accessed 6/28/17.
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