Stacy Talks & Reviews: Controlling Nausea And Hunger When Pregnant

Search My Blog


Controlling Nausea And Hunger When Pregnant

Pregnancy has all kinds of unusual effects on the body. Two common things that pregnant women experience - particularly during the first trimester - are morning sickness and cravings. These are thought to be caused by changes in hormones and blood sugar levels. This post delves more into nausea and hunger during pregnancy, and what you can do to manage these feelings.

Why do some people get nauseous during pregnancy?

Around two thirds of women report experiencing nausea during the first trimester. This is usually in the morning - hence why it is referred to as ‘morning sickness’ - however nausea during pregnancy can be experienced at any time of the day. 

The exact causes of morning sickness are unknown, however there are many theories as to why it happens. Changing levels in hormones like gonadotropin may have an effect, as may changes in blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Increased pressure on the stomach as the womb grows may also make us feel queasy. Some scientists have also suggested that it may serve an evolutionary benefit - for many women, it is the first indicator of pregnancy, and may simply be the body’s way of alerting us. 

When to worry about morning sickness?

During pregnancy at 4 months, many women experience little to no morning sickness. If nausea persists into the second trimester, it could be worth seeing a doctor to check that there is not another underlying problem. Symptoms like a headache, fever and abdominal pain should not accompany morning sickness and are usually a sign of another health issue that you should get checked out.

Severe nausea can be a particular concern. Some pregnant women struggle to keep any food or liquids down and experience dehydration, fatigue and weight loss as a result. This condition is known as hyperemesis gravidarum (or HG) - it is worth seeing a doctor as this form of nausea may need medication or even hospitalization to manage. HG is more common in people who are obese or who are carrying twins, but can affect anyone. Contrary to what people believe, the risk of miscarriage is actually decreased if you have HG, however the risk of premature birth is increased.

What are some great ways to control nausea?

You may be able to reduce morning sickness or symptoms of HG by taking some of the following steps:

  • Try eating smaller meals and snacking more throughout the day. Large meals may encourage nausea.
  • Drink lots of water throughout the day. If you have been vomiting, this will prevent you from getting dehydrated. It can also settle your stomach. 
  • Avoid spicy and fatty foods. Caffeine can also be a trigger.
  • Try drinking ginger or peppermint tea. Many pregnant women find that these herbal teas help reduce nausea. 
  • If you are getting very sick, consider adopting the ‘bland diet’. As the name suggests, this involves eating foods that don’t have particularly strong flavors, but such foods are easier to digest and keep down. A variant of this is the BRAT diet which is made up solely of banana, rice, applesauce and toast.

Why do some people get extra hungry during pregnancy?

Your appetite may go the opposite way during pregnancy - instead of feeling sick, you may get hunger pangs instead. This could include feeling hungry at unusual times (such as waking up in the middle of the night and feeling ravenous). 

It’s often believed that this hunger is due to the increased food needs of your baby. While this is partially true, much of the excess hunger experienced during pregnancy is actually more likely to be due to hormonal changes (the same hormonal changes that cause nausea). This is why you need to be careful of giving into your hunger - especially if you’re eating more than you were before pregnancy and still getting hunger pains. 

What are the risks of increased hunger?

Cravings are most common in the first trimester, but some people experience them throughout the pregnancy. While increased hunger is normal in pregnancy, it is important to rule out nutritional deficiencies and problems like low blood sugar. Extreme fatigue, excessive sweating and symptoms like brittle hair/nails could be signs of such a health problem.

Most people get mild cravings, which do not have any negative health effects. The danger comes with those who get extreme feelings of hunger - this could encourage you to binge on foods and put on lots of weight during pregnancy. This weight gain could lead to other health problems during pregnancy (like high blood pressure or gestational diabetes) and potential complications during labor. You’ll also find it difficult to shed the weight once you have your baby. 

What are some ways to prevent/fulfill cravings?

While you may want to eat a little more than usual during pregnancy, the idea that you should ‘eat for two’ is a myth and will lead to unwanted weight gain. It is therefore important to control your hunger. There are a few ways in which you can do this:

  • As with controlling nausea, try to avoid large meals. Instead eat smaller portions, but snack more regularly to satisfy your hunger.
  • Try to stick to healthy foods that are not nutritionally empty. Herbal teas, fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains are better for you and your baby than soda drinks, candy, potato chips, white bread and other processed foods. 
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Often when we are hungry, it is not because we need more food but more water. 
  • Eat extra fiber in the evening for dinner. Our body digests fiber slowly and you’ll stay fuller longer as a result, preventing midnight cravings. Adding more beans, lentils or vegetables can be a healthy way to add more fiber. 

What about specific trigger foods?

During pregnancy, certain foods you’ve always liked may start to make you feel sick. In other cases, you may get cravings for foods that you’ve always been indifferent to. In fact, some women even get cravings for non-foods like coal, sponges, chalk or ice (known as pica). 

When it comes to trigger foods that make you feel sick, the solution is simply to avoid them. Don’t worry about being put off these foods forever - many women who go off coffee or butter or onions during pregnancy end up craving these foods again after pregnancy. 

As for craving foods, feel free to indulge them provided that it is healthy to do so. There are limits as to how much of a certain food you can eat in a day - including healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. For example, eating too many bananas can cause potassium toxicity and digestive problems from too much fiber. Look up the healthy recommended limit to avoid overdosing. 


Both nausea and hunger are completely normal side effects of pregnancy, but both do need to be monitored and managed in case they become unhealthy. Don’t be afraid to go to a doctor if you feel that your symptoms are abnormal - things like HG, nutrient deficiencies and hypoglycemia often require medical support to control. 

Remember that there are other dietary recommendations to follow when pregnant such as avoiding alcohol and taking care with seafood and soft cheeses. Upping your folate or taking folic acid supplements is also recommended to encourage a healthy pregnancy. There is a lot of conflicting evidence out there as to what you should and shouldn’t eat - if in doubt, always talk to a health professional rather than trusting a friend or TikTok video.

This blog contains affiliate links and sponsored posts. All thoughts and opinions are my own however and are in no way influenced by the sponsorships. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.