My Experience of First Trimester Hunger; I’m hungry, hungry, hungry, hungry!
I have, very thankfully, not suffered with morning sickness with either of my pregnancies. There were some days where I felt like being sick for most of the day, but apart from that nothing particularly noteworthy.
That is not to say that I didn’t have my own share of problems; see ‘How to Survive the Toxic Pregnancy Gas Phase’ and ‘Surviving the Itchy Nipple phase’. However, I do feel like I am very lucky in my lack of morning sickness. One of my friends barely left the house for the first six months of her pregnancy. My own sister suffered horribly with morning sickness pretty much every moment other than when she was eating. In comparison, I feel like I got of pretty lightly!
In the lack of sickness it instead opened me up to insatiable hunger instead; constant, constant hunger. If I wasn’t eating food, I was thinking about eating food; dreaming about food, thinking about trying not to think about food.
I will be the first to admit it; food gives me great enjoyment. I like cooking food, researching and trying new recipes, dining out at difference places and of course, eating food! However, pre-pregnancy I would tend to eat very little during the day and have a big meal in the evening.
I didn’t have a sweet tooth (expect when I was pregnant with, and breastfeeding Lil’Mem) and would never have a dessert. Then as soon as I was pregnant, that was all turned upside down! I would wake up thinking about food and still be hungry, after eating all day, late into the evening until I went to bed.
I would get hungrier and hungrier over a couple of hours until it started to make me feel sick. This is when I took my cue to eat something to make the nausea go away.
I became a ‘human dustbin’
This was the repeating process throughout my whole first trimester which thankfully passed with the arrival of the second trimester.
It was bonus for me that my first trimester fell over November and December. My binge eating was therefore supplemented by masses of Christmas food. Also, as everyone else was in the middle of the annual festive ‘sod the diet’ phase, nobody paid much mind to the fact that I had become a greedy bugger overnight!
I’m sure that my colleagues noticed the change in me. At least I noticed that they were looking at me, sitting at my desk all day munching through foodstuff after foodstuff. If they hadn’t started to question if there was something going on with me before, they definitely were after I turned into a Human Dustbin.
‘You look hungry!’
I say literally, Human Dustbin because that’s what I was, and probably still am. I could still quite happily consume twice my body weight in food in a day given the chance! Even my Husband’s favourite phrase at the moment is ‘you look hungry’. He’s probably right, but it still doesn’t make me feel any better!
So What Causes First Trimester Hunger?
Quite simply, it’s because your growing baby is demanding nourishment and your body is giving you the signals to provide.
You do not actually need to consume any more calories than you did pre-pregnancy during the first trimester. However, your body might be giving you hints that it wants something a bit different nutritionally to what you usually provide it with.
I’m not saying that you should go mad on everything that you’re craving, or go mad on food full stop. However, bit of what you fancy, whilst trying to stay healthy(ish!) will not only save your sanity, but could also be just what you need.
During the first trimester, all I wanted was stodge and carbohydrates; pizza, pasta, toast, potatoes, chips, crisps – everything beige!
This was particularly odd for me to handle. Pre-pregnancy I usually tried to limit my carbohydrate intake as they tend to bloat me out. But want them I did and so ate them I did.
Is it Normal to Experience First Trimester Hunger?
If you Google ‘Increased Hunger During Pregnancy’, most of the answers you will find will be similar to:
‘Most pregnant women find themselves experiencing increased hunger during the second trimester as their nausea subsides and you need to replace the weight you lost during the first trimester’.
This is obviously great news if this is the answer you are looking for, however what about those women who, like me, get a massive dose of hunger during the first trimester?!
Take it from me, and the countless other pregnant ladies who are in the same boat, and don’t confirm to Google’s responses. If you are experiencing first trimester hunger, you are completely normal!
Rest assured that if you are eating everything in sight, you, like the rest of us greedy pregnant women, are completely normal! Some pregnant ladies even report waking up in the night so ravenous they have to have a midnight snack or two!
Some women loose, others gain.
I somehow lost weight during the first trimester of my first pregnancy (probably because I gave up beer!). Quite the opposite was true for the first trimester of this pregnancy (despite still giving up beer!).
It was a bit of a battle, which I eventually gave up on, to keep the weight from piling on!
Whichever your fate, whether you slim down or bulk out; remember that it doesn’t matter. You are normal and your body is probably telling you to do exactly what it needs you to. Our bodies are wonderful things if we listen to them!
With that said, there are a couple of little things that you can do to try and keep your hunger in check and prevent you from steaming through the entire contents of your fridge!
How to Keep Your First Trimester Hunger in Check:
Keep well hydrated.
Sometimes our brains can’t always differentiate between being dehydrated and being hungry, they both seem to send the same ‘hungry’ signals.
Aim to drink two litres a day; water is obviously the best choice but for me, personally, I drink squash. The water from our taps tastes like absolute crap and I begrudge buying water in bulk from the Supermarket.
Black tea and coffee are also good choices (decaf for the most part remember!) as are fruit infused waters.
Ultimately, just find what works for you and get chugging! I fill up my 2 litre bottle in the morning and chug, chug, chug until its gone!
Keep a stock of healthy snacks handy.
If you have healthy snacks to hand you are less likely to stuff your face with the less healthy choices.
I’m not saying you’ll never give in to that donut, but at least it might slow you down a bit!
Great choices include:
- fresh fruit
- nuts and dried fruits (keep to a small handful!)
- vegetable sticks and hummus
- rice cakes and crackers
- fruit crunch Ryvita (a favourite when you need a sweet something)
- tinned fruit in juice (I like peach or pineapple slices!)
- a small salad.
You are less likely to get too ravenously hungry if you keep your stomach topped up!
Make sure that you eat a decent (and healthy!) breakfast, lunch and dinner. Try to include a protein source, a carbohydrate and fruit and or veg at every meal time to stave off hunger and cravings.
Have a snack in-between each meal (i.e. a mid-morning snack and a mid-afternoon snack). The snacks don’t need to be massive; a piece of fruit or a portion of the above snacks will do. It’s just there to tide you over until your next meal.
Try dry cream crackers or ginger nuts to aid with nausea and sickness.
There is a reason that you’re meant to eat dry toast or crackers when you’re sick and why every boat has a biscuit jar filled with ginger nuts; they are very good to counteract and alleviate the symptoms of nausea and sickness.
If you are suffering, try popping one in your mouth (probably not one of each at the same time – unless you really fancy it!) and see if it helps. You can always top yourself up with more – they are both fairly low calorie options so you are less likely to overdo it!
Realistically though, this is the one time in life that you are expected to get bigger and that you even get to wear non-constrictive clothes that allow your belly to grow. Whilst I don’t suggest that you start pilling on the pounds ‘eating for two’, I would suggest that you don’t beat yourself up about those odd days when you feel like you have eaten a house – we all have those!