Losing weight during pregnancy
Weight gain is usually a good sign during pregnancy. It takes a lot of energy to grow a human, so it’s natural to eat more food and gain weight. But what if you’re losing weight during pregnancy? What if you’re losing and you’re not experiencing morning sickness?
Could this be a sign of trouble? If you’re concerned about your little one’s health, see your doctor right away. Meanwhile, let’s explore the reasons why you may be losing weight and what this means for your pregnancy.
Weight Loss During Pregnancy
As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t be trying to lose weight on purpose when you’re pregnant. If you’re losing weight without trying, there could be a number of reasons why this is happening.
Depending on what’s going on, losing weight can be completely normal, or it could be a sign of something more concerning.
Can You Lose Weight While Pregnant?
It’s possible to lose weight during pregnancy, but even if you were overweight before getting pregnant, doctors don’t recommend trying to lose weight until after your pregnancy.
Weight loss during pregnancy – no matter your starting weight – can potentially lead to complications.
That being said, it’s important to talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about losing weight. Your doctor may be able to help you lose weight during pregnancy safely, but only under your doctor’s supervision and instructions.
Is It Normal to Lose Weight During Pregnancy?
It can be normal to lose some weight during pregnancy. Women who are overweight are more likely to experience weight loss during pregnancy, and this can happen for a number of reasons.
During pregnancy, your body increases its fat stores. These fat stores will be your energy reserves that you’ll use during labor and nursing. For women who are overweight, your body may not need any additional fat stores, so it will make adjustments accordingly.
In other words, you may not gain much weight during pregnancy.
You can read more information about how much weight is normal to gain during pregnancy in this post.
It’s not uncommon for women to lose some weight during the first trimester and then gain weight steadily throughout the rest of the pregnancy. Morning sickness and nausea can make it more difficult to eat normally.
And if you haven’t changed your diet, meaning you’re still eating the same amount of food you were eating before you got pregnant, then you’ll probably lose some weight. After all, your body needs more energy to develop your baby.
But if you find that you’re losing a lot of weight or the weight loss comes on suddenly, see your doctor right away. If morning sickness is causing you to lose a lot of weight, you may have hyperemesis gravidarum, which is a medical condition that requires immediate attention.
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Effects Of Losing Weight During Pregnancy
Your baby is growing, and for your baby to grow, he or she needs you to eat. Under normal circumstances, you’ll gain weight because you’re eating to sustain yourself and your baby. Studies from 2010 show that obese women may have fewer complications during birth if they lose weight during pregnancy.
Obese women, in the highest category, reduced their risk of having a C-section by losing weight.
If you’re in a normal weight range, losing weight can:
- Increase risk of baby being underweight
- Increase risk of the baby being malnourished
Women that are significantly underweight already should not be losing weight during pregnancy. If you have an eating disorder or are severely underweight and losing weight, you may be putting your baby and yourself at risk by losing weight.
Causes Of Weight Loss During Pregnancy 1st Trimester
Your first trimester is an interesting time in your pregnancy. Your body is changing, emotions are high, and your hormones are everywhere. And while many women think that they’ll gain a lot of weight during these initial three months, you’ll only gain 1 to 5 pounds.
If you lose a pound or two, it’s really nothing to be concerned about.
Losing weight is often attributed to:
- Morning sickness
Your body is changing, and it’s not uncommon for you to lose your appetite while adjusting to being pregnant. If you’re trying to eat healthier for your baby, this may also be a contributing factor to your weight loss.
In this case, just eat a few hundred extra calories a day to balance things out.
The only time that you need to be concerned is if you’re losing 5% to 10% of your body weight during the first trimester.
Why Am I Losing Weight During Pregnancy 2nd Trimester?
Normally, you won’t lose much weight in the second trimester, and one or two pounds of weight loss isn’t a concern unless you lost a fair bit of weight during the first trimester. Losing a small amount of weight is fine if:
- You gained a significant amount of weight during the first trimester
- You’re still feeling nausea
- You’re eating healthier and were/are overweight
Again, minor weight loss is fine, but you should be gaining about a pound a week during the second trimester.
Losing Weight During Pregnancy Third Trimester
If you’re late into your pregnancy, you should be gaining weight as your baby grows. The baby gains weight, mom gains weight and you count down the days until your baby opens up their eyes.
A few factors may be contributing to losing weight in your third trimester:
You want to be a little more cautious after the first trimester when you lose weight. It’s best to contact your doctor, speak to them and find out why you’re losing weight. Your weight loss may be something as harmless as water retention fluctuations.
Is It Safe to Lose Weight During Pregnancy?
Many moms-to-be decide to make lifestyle changes the moment that they find out that they’re pregnant. She may decide to eat healthier food or even exercise to prepare for pregnancy.
If you’re overweight, losing a few pounds during pregnancy is fine and may even be beneficial to your baby’s health.
A typical pregnancy will result in a 25 to 35 weight gain.
The main concern if you’re losing weight is if you and your baby are getting enough nutrients. Your baby relies on you for calories and nutrients, and losing weight may be a sign that you’re restricting your baby and may actually slow their development.
To make sure you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals you and your baby need, make sure to take prenatal supplements before and during pregnancy.
Your doctor will be able to judge how much weight you should be gaining based on your body mass index, or BMI.
Is It Safe to Lose Weight During Pregnancy If You Are Overweight or Obese?
For most women that are overweight or obese, losing weight during pregnancy can be beneficial. You can reduce your risk of having a C-section by over 30% by losing weight, so it may work in your and your child’s benefit.
Depending on your eating habits and lifestyle, you may be losing weight because your body is burning more calories.
It takes a lot of energy to grow a baby, and if you’re not adding more calories to your diet, you’ll lose some weight. Obese women can often, safely, lose some weight during pregnancy, which is good for both mom and baby.
The weight loss won’t hurt your baby because your body will begin using your fat stores to supply you and your child with energy. And if you’re in your first trimester, it’s not all that uncommon to lose a few pounds as you get accustomed to the morning sickness and nausea you’re experiencing.
A woman with a BMI over 40 may not gain any weight because she’s already at a weight range that can safely provide calories and nutrients for her and her child.
What To Do If You’re Losing Weight While Pregnant
Losing weight and pregnant? You should speak to your doctor if you’re losing a lot of weight or are:
- Feeling weak
- Feeling dizzy
Your doctor may perform lab tests and exams to try and zone in on what’s causing you to lose weight. During the second and third trimester, you should be gaining weight and not losing it. The one thing that you can do to ensure that you don’t lose weight is eat.
Consuming more calories is how you gain weight, so indulge a little more and don’t be afraid to have an extra helping of food.
A few tips to help you stop the weight loss are:
- Eat something, even crackers, when you first wake up
- Try and eat smaller meals, multiple times per day
- Add in 300 extra calories per day
- Drink enough water and take your prenatal vitamins
And don’t forget to track your caloric intake if you keep losing weight. You might not be eating as much as you think, which is causing you to shed a few extra pounds during pregnancy.
If you’re eating a lot, adhering to the tips and recommendations above and still find yourself losing weight, a doctor can help you pinpoint the issue. Meal replacement drinks or a simple adjustment to your diet and/or lifestyle may be all that your body needs to start adding on the 25 to 30 pounds a woman of normal weight adds during pregnancy.