Is Your Baby Hungry When You Are? Understanding Hunger in Pregnancy


Pregnancy is a time of significant change for women, physically, emotionally, and mentally. One of the essential aspects of managing a healthy pregnancy is meeting the nutritional needs of both the mother and the developing fetus. Pregnancy affects the appetite and can be challenging to know when a pregnant woman is genuinely hungry. This article aims to discuss the connection between mother and baby’s hunger, causes of hunger during pregnancy, how to identify hunger symptoms, effects of not satisfying hunger, tips for managing hunger during pregnancy, and benefits of meeting nutritional needs.

Causes of Hunger during Pregnancy:

The hormonal changes in the body during pregnancy cause an increase in appetite. Additionally, the energy requirements for growth and development of the fetus are higher, leading to hunger cravings. Intense cravings for specific foods and flavors may also drive the appetite. Emotional triggers such as stress or boredom may also impact the appetite. Finally, the availability of food can cause increased hunger, both in terms of physical accessibility and variety.

How to Identify Hunger during Pregnancy:

Pregnant women may experience hunger symptoms in different ways, including physical feelings such as stomach growling, nausea, and light-headedness. Changes in appetite, such as being repulsed by foods previously enjoyed or craving foods that were not previously consumed, can be a sign of hunger. Meal timings and frequency can also reveal hunger pangs. It is vital to listen to the body’s cues and pay attention to what the body requires best.

The Effects of Not Satisfying Hunger during Pregnancy:

Ignoring hunger signals during pregnancy can have severe and lasting consequences for both the mother and the baby. The lack of sufficient nutrients can affect fetal development, causing low birth weights, developmental delays, and other complications during labor and delivery. Furthermore, the children born to mothers who did not meet their nutritional needs during pregnancy may be at higher risk for chronic health problems.

Tips for Managing Hunger during Pregnancy:

Eating nutrient-dense foods that offer sufficient calories, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats is essential for meeting the increased demands on the body during pregnancy. Staying hydrated is also crucial, as thirst can be confused with hunger. Listening to cravings can be beneficial; however, it is essential to be mindful of emotional eating and balance it with healthy choices.


In conclusion, pregnancy is a unique time for women, and it is crucial to understand hunger signals and meet nutritional needs. Nutrient-dense, whole food choices can ensure the health of the mother and the developing fetus, promoting healthy growth and development. Acknowledging and meeting hunger signals can lead to more comfortable, healthier pregnancies and promising future for your kid.


1. Simmone Trewavas, “Hunger, appetite and pregnancy,” The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG), accessed July 5, 2021.
2. Jessica J. Outland, Bailey A. Dickens, and Mary Sovinski, “Pregnancy and Appetite Control: Strategies for Timing and Modifying Food Intake throughout Gestation,” Nutrients, 11, no. 6, (2019), 1-15.
3. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, “Pregnancy and nutrition,” National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), accessed July 5, 2021.