When I was nearing the end of my pregnancy, my appetite took a nosedive. I would nibble at my dinner but strangely, my ability to eat the entire plate had disappeared. I remember wondering why, when my baby was growing so much and needed nutrients, I wasn’t more hungry.
If you are now in your third trimester and are also experiencing a shrinking appetite, here’s what’s going on, and also why it’s important that you keep eating well.
Blame it on your bulging belly
With your baby taking up so much of your tummy real estate (can you even see your toes now?), your abdomen is under a lot of pressure. Your stomach, along with all of your other abdominal organs, is being pressed on and it simply has less room for food now. Reflux and heartburn are also common niggles as your growing baby claims his space. As such, your brain has decided to tell you that you’re not that hungry as a way to combat all that squishing.
Your baby is growing, growing, growing!
While your stomach may be shrinking, your baby is growing at a great rate of knots. In fact, during these last three months of pregnancy, most babies gain half their birth weight.
So as your baby continues to get so much bigger, he really needs you to keep on fuelling his growth with good food.
The best way to combat this ‘loss of appetite when my baby needs to grow’ challenge is to eat something – even if it’s just a small snack – every two to three hours. Think of yourself as grazing and giving your baby lots of small injections of food.
When you do snack though, it’s important that you snack wisely. What you want to be feeding your baby, via what you eat, is quality, not quantity. Eating thoughtfully in pregnancy also has plenty of benefits for you, especially if you are feeling low on energy.
A diet that’s rich in fruit and vegetables, lean meat, legumes as well as good fats like avocado, nuts and oily fish, such as salmon, is the way to go. Some good snacking ideas include half a sandwich, a small serve of chicken and pasta, brown rice with salmon, Greek yoghurt with nuts and berries or veggie sticks dipped in hummus.
Beware of drinks
As your shrinking tummy can’t accommodate much food, be careful not to send your brain the message that it is full by filling up on liquids while eating. Try to keep your drinks separate to your snacks/meals. This will also help to reduce reflux, as will going for a walk immediately after eating meals.