Anyone who has experienced pregnancy will know the insatiable hunger that comes with growing – and later feeding – a baby. And these hunger pangs don’t just hit us during the day! Night-time snacking is a surprisingly common side effect of pregnancy and breastfeeding, and makes it hard to get the rest our bodies desperately need.
If your night-time appetite is causing problems, try these tips:
1. Up your daytime calorie intake
Growing a new life takes energy. During the second trimester, our bodies need 340 more calories per day than when we’re not pregnant, and in the third trimester this increases to 450. If you stick to your pre-pregnancy diet you may not consume enough during the day, which can cause you to wake up feeling ravenous at night. Combat this by eating more lean protein, whole grains, dairy, vegetables and fruit. If morning sickness is getting in the way of a balanced diet, try a nutritional milk powder like Oz Farm’s Pregnant Mother or Mother Care. They provide the extra energy your body needs, as well as essential vitamins and minerals to support the health of you and your baby.
2. Eat a bedtime snack
Eating a protein-rich snack before bedtime is another great way to curb night-time cravings. Protein boosts the release of appetite-suppressing hormones which can help keep hunger at bay until morning. Combine protein with whole grains for a satisfying yet healthy snack. Think crackers with low-fat cheese and fruit, yoghurt with toast and almond butter, or a bowl of porridge made with milk. Just make sure you eat an hour before going to sleep to avoid acid reflux.
3. Be prepared
If you still find yourself waking hungry at 3 a.m., the last thing you want to do is stumble all the way to the kitchen to find food in the dark. Instead, place a nutritious, easy-to-eat snack within arm’s reach of your bed. Bananas are a great choice as they contain a natural sleep-promoting amino acid called tryptophan. A spoonful of almond butter is another quick and easy midnight snack that can help tide you over until morning.
Midnight hunger pangs during pregnancy can really wreak havoc with our sleeping patterns. But with a little preparation, it is possible to reduce our appetite at night – or at least its impact on our sleep. The tips above should help, but if your night-time noshing is really messing with your physical or mental health, have a chat to your doctor.