How to Increase Appetite in Pregnancy

Throughout your pregnancy, you may experience a decrease in appetite for a variety of reasons. In addition to hormonal changes and discomfort, Aviva Jill Romm, author of "The Natural Pregnancy Book: Herbs, Nutrition, and Other Holistic Choices," adds that your baby's growth will slow several times over the course of your pregnancy, resulting in a potential loss of appetite. It is important to maintain healthy eating habits so your baby continues to grow and develop normally. There are several things you can try to get your appetite back.

Eat smaller meals more often. Prepare a meal that is half the size of your normal meal to help reduce how much food you put in your stomach at one time, which can cause a decrease in appetite. As your baby grows, your stomach will begin to feel full after just a small amount of food, so plan on eating five or six meals a day rather than three, says Romm, to help increase your appetite.

Add new foods to your diet. Eating some more exciting options is often all it takes for you to get your appetite back, Romm says. Browse some cookbooks or ask a friend for a few new recipes to try so you can look forward to your next meal and are able to eat more.

Substitute foods that you cannot tolerate with other options. Many pregnant women experience food aversions, says Colette Bouchez, author of "Your Perfectly Pampered Pregnancy: Beauty, Health, and Lifestyle Advice for the Modern Mother-to-Be," and replacing those foods with more palatable options can help your appetite return as well as increase.

Reduce your nausea so you are able to stomach the thought of food. Try drinking a cup of ginger tea. Smelling peppermint oil can also ward off a bout of nausea as well, Bouchez says. Keep a halved lemon or handkerchief soaked in lavender in a plastic bag to smell when you feel sick to your stomach. If you can keep the nausea at bay, your appetite is more likely to increase.

Do not use strong seasonings and spices on your food. Pass on chili powder, cinnamon and cayenne pepper until your appetite returns, because they can turn you off from eating. Eat bland foods while you build your appetite back to its normal level.


Ask your partner to prepare a few meals because the smell of cooking can cause your appetite to disappear. If you remain out of the kitchen while your meal cooks, you are more likely to want to eat it.


Never use peppermint oil internally during pregnancy, says Bouchez, because it may stimulate uterine contractions, which can lead to miscarriage.

If you have no appetite and you cannot find a way to get it to return, call your doctor right away. The health of your baby depends on the nutritious foods you eat so you need to ensure that you are able to eat even a little bit of food each day.