A woman’s first thought when she gets pregnant, and often before, is «how do I avoid gaining too much weight?» But, what happens when a woman starts losing weight? Keep in mind that in the first trimester, the typical woman will only gain around 5 pounds, but some may actual lose weight during this time. However, if a woman continues losing weight after the first trimester, it is a sign that there may be a serious problem and that a doctor should be notified. Losing weight during the last two trimesters of a pregnancy can be damaging not only to the baby, but also to the woman carrying the child.
Is Losing Weight While Pregnant Normal?
During your first trimester, losing weight is nothing to worry about and is actually normal, especially if you’re suffering from a significant amount of morning sickness.
As stated, one of the major causes of losing weight while pregnant is the typical first trimester symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting. During your first trimester, the baby is still very small and is not the one causing weight gain, but retaining water and being bloated does. Keeping that in mind, it is perfectly normal for a woman to lose weight during her first trimester and is not considered harmful to either the woman or the baby.
How to Deal With Losing Weight While Pregnant?
Around fourteen weeks, you will finally begin to feel your appetite return as the morning sickness is subsiding. Once this occurs, women who had lost weight will soon gain it back, and plus some more. In order to make sure you and your baby are still getting all of the vital nutrients, follow the advice listed below.
Prenatal vitamins. Taking prenatal vitamins is one of the best ways to ensure that both you and your baby are getting all of the vital nutrients you need, especially if you suffer from severe morning sickness and have a hard time keeping food down. Start with a low dose of iron option, as this mineral may worsen morning sickness, and eat as often as possible.
Ginger. Whenever you feel morning sickness coming on, try chewing a piece of ginger candy, or drink a glass of ginger ale. Ginger is known to help settle upset stomachs, making it the perfect remedy to help you keep food down and prevent additional weight loss.
How Much Weight Should I Gain During Pregnancy?
When it comes to being pregnant, the amount of weight gained is dependent upon what you weighed before. While the numbers below are a general guideline, always follow a doctor’s recommendation as some women may have special requirements to keep themselves and the baby healthy. The following recommendations are a good place to start:
- An average woman should gain around 25-35 pounds
- An underweight woman should gain around 28-40 pounds
- An overweight woman should gain around 15-25 pounds
Remember that this is the total weight gained throughout the entire pregnancy, not just one trimester. As a general rule of thumb, a pregnant mother should gain about 2-4 pounds during the first trimester, and then approximately a pound per week until the birth. However, if the woman is carrying twins, she should gain a pound and a half per week after the initial first three months’ weight gain.
What Should I Do If I Want to Lose Weight During Pregnancy?
For most women, it is not advisable to lose weight while being pregnant. However, some women who are obese or overweight may be instructed to lose a specific amount of weight to make both themselves and the baby healthier. At the same time, losing too much weight will only increase the chances of having a premature baby, so be sure to discuss with your midwife or doctor to determine the best course of action for you.
While exercising and dieting can be good for you, going too extreme while pregnant will do more damage than good. Keep that in mind and use the following tips to help you control your weight while pregnant.
Avoid Food Devoid of Nutrition
When you consume food that has no nutritional value, you will gain unnecessary weight and are not providing your baby with the appropriate nutrients. Become a diligent reader of food labels and make sure you avoid those with added sugars: solid fats, especially soft drinks, fried foods, cheese, and most desserts. Other options to avoid include caffeine, alcohol and raw seafood as they are not safe for the baby. When looking for food while pregnant, always consider what nutrients the food can provide before deciding to consume it.
Eat Small Meals Throughout the Day
Some may already know that eating small meals at regular intervals is significantly better than eating three large meals, and this is even truer while you are pregnant. By eating around five to six small meals each day, about two hours to three hours in between, it will help stave off nausea and make it easier to digest the food. This is vital as your baby continues to grow and starts to push around your digestive organs. Additionally, eating smaller meals may prevent heartburn and indigestion, especially if you are keeping the right snacks around that help prevent too many changes in blood sugar.
Maintain a Light Exercise Program
While maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle is important regardless of whether or not you are expecting, it plays a huge role on staying within a healthy weight range while pregnant. Most doctors suggest getting at least two and half hours of moderate aerobic activity per week for pregnant women as it helps keep their body regulated, especially when it comes to sleep and emotions. Additionally, exercising will reduce the risk of complications throughout the pregnancy and has been shown to make losing weight easier after the baby is born. While it is advised to exercise, be sure to discuss your exercise regimen with your doctor to ensure your workout is ideal. Typically, pregnant women will go for low-impact activities such as walking or swimming, and should avoid anything that will cause you to be struck in the abdomen, like soccer.