How Your Appetite Will Change Postpartum

You've probably read enough baby books to know about all of the weird things pregnancy and childbirth can do to your body. And your appetite is no exception to the alterations. During pregnancy, you may find yourself eating things you never thought you would. Once your baby arrives, however, your tastes don't go back to "normal" — they will change all over again. If you've been creeped out by your frequent pregnancy cravings for pickles and ice cream, you may be eager to find out how your appetite changes postpartum. Now that issues like heartburn and morning sickness are a thing of the past (hopefully), you may actually enjoy sitting down for a meal again. But the size of your appetite can vary depending on environmental factors.

If you choose to breastfeed, for example, you may be surprised by how much you want to eat. Producing milk and nursing your baby requires superhero-like energy. According to Women's Health magazine, nursing moms burn between 300 and 500 calories each day. And, as a result, you may find yourself making more frequent trips to the pantry than ever before. But, as What To Expect recommended, no matter what you're craving, a diet rich in fresh produce, lean protein, and calcium will help give you much-needed energy and expose your baby to the taste of healthy foods she'll need to eat later on.

If you are dealing with postpartum depression, however, it may have the opposite effect on your appetite. According to WebMD, 12 percent of women will experience postpartum depression after giving birth. Among the symptoms of this often debilitating condition can be a loss of appetite or a desire to overeat. As the American Pregnancy Association mentioned, the severity of a mother's postpartum depression varies by the individual, but can be managed with the help of therapy and medication.

As with everything, there is no one size fits all answer to how much you'll want to eat once your baby arrives. But by working closely with your doctor to develop a healthy diet and exercise plan, you can make sure that you and your baby remain as healthy as possible throughout the process.