Hungry All the Time During Pregnancy

Updated on November 12, 2010
T.B. asks from Key West, FL
14 answers

I know that with pregnancy comes hunger, weight gain, nausea. I just found out that I am pregnant with my 4th child. We were done with 3 so as you might imagine, this is very hard on me. I am coping with this new-found surprise the best I can.

With my previous 3 pregnancies, I experienced what I called an insatiable hunger. On top of feeling nauseated, I was hungry ALL the time but finding food to fill that hunger was nearly impossible with the constant nausea. With this 4th pregnancy, not only am I nauseated but I am hungry which makes it very difficult to eat anything especially when smells are bothering me so much and nothing is appealing to my discriminating appetite. Just last night I woke up every 2 hours to eat. This hunger is so painful and so intense that it is waking me up out of sleep. I've eaten so much cereal in the past week that just the thought of eating another bowl makes me want to vomit. NOTHING is appealing to me. I open and close the refrigerator and pantry several times (I'm starting to feel like I have OCD) just to find SOMETHING to eat that (1) will fill my hunger and (2) won't make me hurl. I have talked to other moms about this hunger problem that I seem to struggle with during pregnancy. Nobody seems to understand it nor have any moms I know ever experienced it. My sense of smell compounds this which makes it insanely worse for me. Are there ANY moms out there who have dealt with this type of hunger I am dealing with during pregnancy? How did you cope with it? Please don't offer suggestions to eat crackers or this or that. Just the thought of putting anything in my mouth makes me queezy so this is truly a struggle for me and I'm looking for mamas who have had first hand experience with this hunger problem during pregnancy.

Prior to this pregnancy, I have been extremely active with working out so with this pregnancy, I intend to keep up with my work outs but as early as this pregnancy is, I am already having to modify, which is fine as long as I am doing something "active." I worked out this morning, despite the nausea and found that I did feel better afterward but it is a struggle to get through it. With my previous pregnancies, I DID discuss this hunger issue with my OB. I gained 52 lbs with each pregnancy (and lost it all after each pregnancy) but I gained weight very fast and with my first pregnancy, my OB put me on a low fat diet. It was torture! I'm older this time around and I am hoping that I do NOT gain as much weight as my previous pregnancies but when I say this hunger is insatiable, I mean after I eat a rather large meal, I'm still hungry and it's not a little hungry. I feel like I haven't eaten in days, no matter how full I feel, my stomach is growling and it actually feels painful.

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So What Happened?

Well, I am going into my 16th week and the hunger on some days is just horrible! It is encouraging to know that I am not alone because I've experienced this insatiable hunger with all of my pregnancies and my doctor did know about it. He did say it was a hormone thing and there wasn't much I could do about it except eat and still always feel hungry while gaining too much weight...or eat what I would normally eat and feel like I had not eaten in a week. Of course, my doctor ALWAYS discouraged me from eating so much because I DO gain weight very easily while pregnant and this pregnancy is high risk, so gaining too much weight is not an option. Many days I suffer with hunger that feels so painful, I just want to cry because it hurts to bad.

Some days are worse than others, other days are manageable to the point that I can grab a cheese stick or a cup of yogurt and feel somewhat better. Filling up on liquids doesn't always help, but sometimes a cup of something hot (hot tea, hot cocoa) has helped a little. I appreciate all of you who took the time to offer your suggestions and tips. One poster suggested I try some special bread ~ I call it "God's Bread." I've managed to eat one slice of it. It was not at all what I expected and would never buy it again.
Thank you again for all of you who responded. Just reading your personal testimonies is reassuring that this is not just isolated to me.

More Answers


answers from Los Angeles on

I feel your pain. My first pregnancy I had this really bad. At some meals I would eat and eat.....and eat, until food was so pilledup I could feeling inching it's way up my throat. And still, I felt as if I was staving. That horrid void of emptiness that never seemed to go away. There were times when I actually started to cry at the table because I was so hungry but knew I couldn't take another bite.

Finally I told myself, enough. I knew I would not be satisfied so after I ate a good, designated meal I stopped eating. Hungry or not, I knew I had enough food and just suffered through the discomfort. And yes, it was hard. But I knew I had to disapline myself or gain 300 pounds trying to satify a hunger that would never end. I did this for 5 months till the baby came.

I just think sometimes the hormones messup the body so much that the "turn off" switch for eating gets broken. I'm pregnant again (8 months) and luckily it hasn't been too bad. I have had a couple of days when I can't get satisfied, but those are few and far between. Today, is one of them, however. :(

The only thing I can offer is this. If smell is a big issue with you, and you're staving, look for things with little to no smell. String cheese for protein worked for me. And pain steamed rice to fillup. Also, talk to the doctor. If it's indeed a hormone thing, perhaps he can help. I never told my doctor, I just suffered through it. But that's me.

I'm so sorry you're going through this. I truely know what you're going through and hope you find a way out of it. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Yes!!!!!! I'm going through the same thing!!! I have to force m husband to make me eggs which I'm starting to become disgusted with but it hives me a break from cereal .. I find that if u take a glass of ice, fill it up with half ginger ale and half orange juice, it subsides the nausea.. My hunger is so painful that it wakes me up as well.. I have to get up in the middle of the night to make a quick peanut butter and jelly sandwich just so I can go back to sleep :-( so ur not a lone!!! I'm starving too!!! Lol

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

When pregnant, eating would satisfy me for awhile, but the sudden hunger would hit hard and fast and unexpectedly at any time so I learned I had to keep some healthy snacks with me. I didn't have any specific cravings, but I loved any dish on the Chinese buffet that had broccoli in it. During the last trimester, I'd wake up 2 or 3 times during the night, need the bathroom, a glass of water, and a quick snack. Velveeta slices were the best. One or two of those and I was good for awhile. String cheese would do in a pinch, but the Velveeta seemed to be just right.



answers from Sarasota on

I really don't know the answer regarding pregnancy, although I'm sure someone does!

Even when I'm not pregnant, I get hungry like that sometimes. I usually find it has one of three causes:
--a non-food thing--like eating because I'm tired or stressed. I'm not kidding
I could eat buckets of food from stress and still feel "hungry"--even though
my stomach is full. And it really feels like hunger!
--craving a specific nutrient
--my thyroid is out of balance (I have thyroid issues)

So I guess I'd recommend checking all those, but I don't know what to tell you to eat! I'd just be VERY suspicious of a low-fat or low anything diet during pregnancy. You need balance most of all! And fats, especially omega-3 fats found in salmon and walnuts, etc., are really important for healthy nervous system development. Sure, no one really wants saturated fat, but keep good, balanced percentages fat/carbs/protein for you and your baby!



answers from Miami on

I haven't experienced that kind of hunger my entire pregnancy, but definitely had it for a few months in my 2nd trimester. Although, I never woke up to eat because I was so exhausted! And I am typically hungry 45-75 minutes after I eat all day long even now (at 35 weeks). I can't eat the light and healthier fare alone (salads, etc), I really need some good protein and stick to your ribs carbs. Most nights I eat a bowl of fruit, greek yogurt and raw almonds before bed. If I eat the equivalently sized bowl of ice cream and bananas, I wake up so hungry. It's vicious!
But since your nausea is really affecting what you can eat, you probably need to start there. I have heard that a good B6 supplement can help and combining it with Unisom (which might be good for night time snacking). If you're throwing up, then the Zofran may be a good option for you. Two of my cousins had to use it with their pregnancies and I know it made a big difference. Also, I used strong ginger for my nausea--like Reed's Ginger Brew (a ginger ale made with real ginger) and it helped. But my nausea wasn't extreme...probably just moderate. For some reason I craved salads with vinegar/vinaigrettes in my 1st trimester and that seemed to stave off the nausea. (That was before the appetite set in!) I also have liked oranges (nice juicy navels) when I've been nauseous--certainly not going to fill you up for a long time, but definitely a snack option.
It definitely sucks to be hungry all the time especially when you are aware of the weight gain. I can relate! Good luck and I hope you feel better soon.


answers from Boise on

I was like that, too, although not quite so bad, I think. Sipping ice-cold Gatorade worked for my first two pregnancies to stave off nausea, and it just felt good in my stomach. I think I ate nothing but cheese on saltines for a month with my first baby. Thankfully, I was not even remotely interested in sweets. Yeah, well, with my third, all I wanted was sweets! Soda, chocolate, caramel, ice cream, whatever. Regular food was awful, I only wanted candy.

And I gained too much, too. And now it won't come off. Ugh.

Anyway, if eating is bad, how about drinking? Could that help you feel full? Like chugging water with your meal. I remember thinking I would pop when I was big pregnant and drank too much. I don't know, no one has ever really been able to give me a satisfactory answer, either. They just say it's a stage of pregnancy to be hungry but repulsed by food, and you just have to stick it out.

I'm sorry, and hang in there!



answers from Tampa on

Dear T.-
Check with your midwife, or doula and see about homeopathic remedies for the nausea. There are two I have used with great results, and they do not require eating.
Actually this problem you are having is VERY common- it means that there are some nutrients that you are missing that are very necessary for you or your baby- and your body goes into survival mode and makes you terribly hungry in an effort to get those. I heard someone say it was like the old time miners panning for gold- they work go thro ALOT of sand panning to find the nuggets of gold- and your body is going thro alot of food to try to get what it needs.
Actully I cannot believe anyone has say it was unusual- it is in fact very common.
The solution is to take a look-and I know with the nausea what I am suggesting is tough-take a look at what you are eating- you are not getting what you need. I suggest WestonPrice.comm, and look at EatRight4Your Blood Type- a book well researched by Bastyr University- and see the correct thing- after you get a homeopathic remendy for the nausea this will be easier.
If you need any more assistance contact me. This is an area about which I know alot, and I am happy to be of any help.
best, k



answers from Johnson City on

I went for walks when I knew that I had eaten enough but was still hungry. Yours sounds more intense...your body might be telling you that you are not getting enough of something. I think i would call the ob for advice. In the mean time try to eat foods that are full of nutrients. (fruits, veggies, and green things)


answers from Austin on

That was so me during early pregnancy. Fortunately/unfortunately, one of my favs during the first trimester was a strawberry milkshake. It was cold, sweet, and soothing. Nothing at home appeased my hunger either, so we had to go out for food very regular, however there were some places that nauseated me by just their smell. You may have to just try something even if it doesn't sound good. Unless, of course, it makes you want to hurl right away. My food choices changed rapidly during this time too. Strangely I craved meat and starches a lot during the 1st trimester... 2 things I had eliminated from my diet a couple of years prior... The only setback, is the possible weight gain early on... But, I have a wonderfully healthy baby girl.
You may consider Ginger Chews (Whole Foods sells yummy ones in individual wrappers)- either chew one or dissolve it in hot water. This was one of the only ways I got water down too, as it was strangely nauseating to me. I lived on these little chews for a bit.
Wish I had more suggestions for you. Hope this little bit helps you some. Once you get through this, I am sure it'll be smooth sailing. Hang in there. You and your healthy little oopsy will be ok. :)



answers from New York on

You sound like me! (except I don't work out as much as you seem to). Oddly, my first pregnancy, I lost 9 lbs my first trimester because I was nauseous and I had no appetite at all. This pregancy, I've been craving EVERYTHING, including all the things I don't normally crave (like meat). I was a vegetarian before my pregnancy bbut my cravings got so intense, I started eating meat again. And I crave things I would never normally eat, like chicken fingers (salivating as I type right now). I even dream about food! But, even though I crave, when I finally satisfy the craving it don't fulfill me as much as I think it will, in part because everything smells so "off" (I thought my son had a wet fart this morning, turns out I was actually smelling his blueberry pancakes, which I subsequently went on to inexplicably crave). My tummy also growls to the point of pain and I also have trouble sleeping at night.

I find that small, frequent meals sort of help. So far, I am trying granola and protein shakes - something that will fill me and keep me from getting to that starving point. It works sometimes, sometimes not. I just hope that when I enter my second trimester, things will get better.

Sorry I don't have any advice for you...just wanted to share my experience and vent along with you.



answers from Miami on

The only thing that never made me hurl was Dr. Schultz's Superfood from American Botanical Pharmacy online. I drank so much of it that my baby craved it after she was born. She would ask to drink it when she was old enough. It has protein and tons of vitamin B's which helps with the nausea. It's an acquired taste, most people hate it, but when i was pregnant, boy did I like it. i think my body craved the nutrients in it. It made for great milk production too. Hope you feel better soon.



answers from Daytona Beach on

I had the hunger problem with my first pregnancy. I would eat in the morning a carnation and a banana and cereal or bagel. A half hour later I felt like I was going to vomit I was so hungry again. It was this way for the entire pregnancy. It was 6yrs ago now, so all I can tell you is that I ate. I did crave salads, and that seemed to help a bit. When you eat does your nausea go away? I didn't have "morning sickness" but like I wrote, I did feel like I was going to throw up when I was hungry which was all the time. Maybe taking a walk in the fresh air would help also. Taking deep breaths to try to alleviate the nausea. You can also get meds from your dr. I'm not sure if the ? was for the eating or the nausea, or both? All I can say is that I ate when I was hungry, I ate when I was naseaus to help with that. And it did help. Don't know if this helped you out or not, but I was just thinking that if you're that hungry all the time that might be causing your queasiness. I would agree that it's probably missing vitamins or nutrients that's making you so hungry because I"m not so much a "healthy" eater but was wanting all "good" foods



answers from Orlando on

I suggest two things that helped for me. Red Raspberry tea - helps to sooth nausea and also calms the stomach including hunger pains. I used to drink that instead of water- made a batch at night and chilled it and drank it at room temperature all day long. Room temperature or hot seemed to calm my stomach the most. It is actually very strenthening for your womb and pregnancy so its a plus.

Also I suggest you focus on all natural foods. Uncooked unprocessed fruits and vegetables. Google green smoothies, they are nutrient dense and delicious- my kids even love them. It sounds like your body is craving nutrients and you are not finding it in typical cooked foods. Make sure anything you eat drink is unprocessed the fresher the better. A favorite of mine when I was pregnant with the twins was apple slices with peanut butter. I would wake at night for that 2-3 times a night. Also granola cereal, fresh fruit (blueberries/strawberries) with soy milk another favorite.

Make sure you are taking prenatals and you can try an herbal liquid supplement they sell at Whole Foods that seems to be absorbed better by the body than in pill form. Its called Floradix and was recommended to me by my midwife and worked very well (I used to get leg cramps from lack of calcium even with the prenatals)

Good luck to you!




answers from Jacksonville on

Zoofran worked for me and the nausea. I was throwing up all the time and couldnt eat a thing. As for the hunger try the more filling foods and have yourself checked for gestational diabeties. I woke up every couple hours to eat with my first child and had the GD. Peanut butter and jam sandwiches were great for me. With my second i ate alot of fruit for snacks and that helped the hunger stay at bay

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