Do Babies Get Hungry in the Womb?

Do Babies Get Hungry in the Womb?

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Every mother will agree that part of the getting pregnant package is a consistent change in eating habits.

In most cases, pregnant women tend to eat more, which begs the question: do babies get hungry in the womb, do they influence their mothers’ eating habits?

The relationship between an unborn child and its mother is best described as parasitic.

The baby automatically derives its nutritional needs from the mother immediately conception occurs.

Technically, an unborn baby cannot get hungry due to an ever-ready, indestructible nutrient supply chain from the mother to the unborn child through the umbilical cord.

According to experts, the body amasses fat during pregnancy to serve as the baby’s reservoir of essential fats, which are ever ready to meet the baby’s nutritional needs.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not eat more during pregnancy because the baby is hungry but rather due to your body’s increased energy requirement. 

Growing a fertilized egg to a big bump ready to be delivered within nine months requires a lot of energy.

The body derives calories from eating. Research has also established a link between increased appetite and fluctuations in the body’s progesterone and estrogen level during pregnancy.

Do babies get hungry in the womb? The importance of good nutrition on pregnant women

The popularity of questions like do babies get hungry in the womb is a testament to expectant mothers’ preoccupation with their babies’ welfare.

Babies cannot get hungry in the womb. The existence of the umbilical cord as a nutrients supply route supplies them with the much-needed nutrients during pregnancy.

However, a pregnant woman’s nutritional intake has a profound effect on the overall health and wellbeing of the unborn child, and here is how.

1. Proper growth and development of the baby’s organs and tissues 

A mother’s diet has a profound impact on the physiological growth and development of the child before delivery.

Food substances rich in protein play a critical role in the healthy growth and development of the child’s brain, tissues, and organs.

According to experts, the more protein a pregnant woman consumes, the higher the blood supply from the mother to the fetus through the umbilical cord.

It is recommended that expectant mothers increase their protein intake during each trimester of pregnancy.

Experts recommend daily consumption of about 70 to 100 grams of protein for the proper growth and development of the baby’s organs and tissues during pregnancy.

As an expectant mother, it is advisable you increase your consumption of protein-rich food substances like chicken, beef, pork, salmon, and beans.

2. Development of strong bones, teeth, muscles, and nerves

Experts have long-established the effectiveness of calcium consumption during pregnancy in aiding the development of the baby’s bones, teeth, muscles, and nerves.

Calcium continues to play a critical role in the overall development of the child till its delivery and up to its teenage years.

Experts recommend daily consumption of 1000 mg of calcium for pregnant women, especially at the third trimester when the baby experiences heightened bone development.

The lack of sufficient calcium by pregnant women places them at the risk of osteoporosis, leading to brittle bones.

The last thing any pregnant mother should worry about is weak bones resulting from a lack of calcium.

Consider consuming low mercury fish, milk, yogurt, and cheese for your daily calcium requirement.

3. Prevents congenital disability

While babies are guaranteed a steady supply of food nutrients from their mothers, mothers should be wary of their diets.

They should intensify the consumption of food substances rich in folic acids.

They play a crucial role in reducing neural tube defects, which affects a baby’s brain function.

Food substances rich in folic acids also prevent birth defects, including spina bifida and anencephaly.

Anencephaly refers to a critical medical condition where babies are born without some parts of their brain or skull.

Experts recommend daily consumption of between 600 and 800 mcg of folic acids.

Thankfully, food rich in folic acid abounds in nature. Some of them include nuts, peanuts, and eggs.

4. Boost the immune system and promotes a healthy supply of oxygen

A weak flow of oxygen from the mother to the baby can be life-threatening to the baby at every stage of pregnancy.

Food substances rich in sodium, iron, and potassium play a critical role in oxygen flow to the baby during pregnancy.

Experts recommend consuming iron and vitamin-rich food for a steady oxygen flow to the baby.

In addition to promoting a healthy supply of oxygen, iron, potassium, and vitamin-rich food, substances exponentially boost the baby and its mother’s immune system.

Daily consumption of 27 mg of iron is recommended for a perfect oxygen inflow into the baby. 

Learn more from a related post: Baby Still Hungry After Breastfeeding


One of the most commonly asked questions by expectant mothers is, do babies get hungry in the womb?

Babies can’t get hungry in the womb as the mother automatically meets their nutritional needs through the umbilical cord.

The commonly increased appetite experienced by most pregnant women results from the energy requirement of growing a child.

Pregnant women must inculcate a healthy eating habit for the overall growth and development of the unborn child.

Eating right boosts the immune system, prevents birth defects, promotes a healthy flow of oxygen to the fetus, and accelerates the development of strong bones, teeth, muscles, and nerves. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the baby eat in the womb?

Apart from deriving part of their nutritional needs from digesting their mothers’ amniotic fluid, babies derive most of their nutritional requirements from their mothers through the umbilical cord.

This begins about five days after pregnancy occurs. 

According to experts, a baby derives about 20percent of their protein from their mother’s drink.

This explains why mothers are advised against consuming narcotics, alcohol, and smoking during pregnancy as it affects the child’s overall development.

Babies also derive part of their nutrients from their endometrium, which is the mother’s uterus lining, especially during the early and middle stages of pregnancy.

Does everything you consume during pregnancy go to the baby?

As previously established, babies derive a bulk of their nutritional needs from their mothers through the umbilical cord.

The baby gets a fair share from everything you consume during pregnancy.

There is a reason experts strongly advise against the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy.

Also, you should speak to experts before taking any medicine as some can be harmful to the baby. 

Experts recommend that you consume more nutritious food, including food items rich in vitamins, iron, folic acid, protein, calcium, fiber, and other essential nutrients.

There is a strong correlation between a mother’s dietary habits during pregnancy and the child’s physiological development.

Does eating too much during pregnancy affect the baby?

Yes, eating too much during pregnancy affects the baby. It is best to avoid compulsive eating during pregnancy.

Eating should be limited to hunger, and it should be nutritious.

Experts have established a link between compulsive eating and pregnancy complications like miscarriage, premature delivery, birth defects, and prolonged labor time.

Overweight people are prone to high blood pressure and sugar levels during pregnancy.

Whether pregnant or not, overeating is an unhealthy habit. Its danger far outweighs the instant gratification of satisfying the taste buds.

Suffice to say, overeating affects the baby’s weight and health.

Babies become too big when their mothers overeat during pregnancy, leading to a C section in most cases.


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Iesha Mulla

Iesha is a loving mother of 2 beautiful children. She's an active parent who enjoys indoor and outdoor adventures with her family. Her mission is to share practical and realistic parenting advice to help the parenting community becoming stronger.

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