Weight loss during pregnancy is not an uncommon scenario. There are numerous accounts of women who have lost weight during the first trimester. This may be due to the morning sickness. Some women may be unable to hold down food as a consequence of nausea and vomit resulting from the morning sickness. In some instances, the experience ensuing from the morning sickness may make you lose your appetite, leading to weight loss.
Overweight mothers may also experience weight loss during pregnancy. There are various reasons for the weight loss. First, if the body has enough energy reserves for the baby, then the mother may lose weight as the body already has enough energy reserved as fat.
Why weight loss while pregnant
It is normal for overweight mothers to experience weight loss. Other mothers may experience weight loss during the first trimester of the pregnancy. However, as the pregnancy progresses, you are likely to experience weight gain.
Weight loss or weight gain at this time in your life is as a result of hormones that alter the maternal metabolism in preference for the developing baby. Nutrients are directed to the infant, the mammary glands, and the placenta. If you are malnourished, or underweight, your body adjusts by gaining weight so as to have enough calories for the developing child.
Losing weight while pregnant is not uncommon. This unusual scenario may be caused by the condition of the mother before pregnancy. If you were underweight before beginning your pregnancy, or are intentionally dieting, you may experience weight loss during the first trimester of pregnancy. On the other hand, if you are overweight, you are likely to experience a weight loss as the body already has sufficient nutrients for the infant.
The nutritional status of the mother is important prior to-and during pregnancy. This status affects not only the health of the infant but also of the mother. For instance, if the mother’s pre-pregnancy weight and height are normal, then it is recommended that you gain approximately 3.5lb (1.6kg) in the first trimester and approximately 1lb (0.5kg) per week in the next two trimesters. Contrarily, pregnant women who are underweight for height during the pre-pregnancy period should target getting 5 lb in the first trimester and a little more than 1 pound per week in the remaining two trimesters.
Hyperemesis Gravidarum is a serious condition that may lead to weight loss during pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association, the condition affects approximately less than 1% of the population. This condition is an extreme case of morning sickness that leads to weight loss. Mild cases of the condition are treated through the use of antacids, getting proper rest, and dietary changes. However, extreme cases will require hospitalization.
Overall, this is a time for you to consider your doctor’s advice and you should monitor your weight gain/loss under the supervision of your physician.
How to lose weight safely
If you are obese (have a BMI of more than 30) or are considered overweight (BMI of 25 to 29.9) then you might be concerned about how to lose weight while pregnant. Recent research indicates that losing some weight during pregnancy is possible and may even be beneficial for overweight mothers. However, the trick is, how to balance obtaining all the nutrition your baby needs while at the same time controlling the weight.
The key to losing weight during pregnancy without harming the baby is to exercise and eat healthily. There are pregnancy exercises that you can engage in to help you control the weight. These exercises are carefully selected depending on the trimester. Also, you can engage in activities such as taking walks, swimming, and low-impact aerobics.
Eating well and drinking water are also key in weight loss during pregnancy. The amount of calories that you need to take as the pregnancy progresses depend on your pre-pregnancy weight. Therefore, it is advisable to consult a dietician to determine how much weight you need to lose without harming the baby.
When it comes to healthy eating, one of the first steps to losing weight is to reduce calorie intake. You can start by keeping a record of how much calories you really eat. Then you can determine how much calories per day you are required to take with the assistance of your dietician. It is advisable not to cut back on calories to the extreme as calories are important energy sources for the infant. If you tend to eat high calories, then you can consider taking small portions of your daily recommended calories a day, eliminating condiments from your food plan, or reducing on junk food. Lastly, it is advisable to cut out soda for water instead.
If you are overweight, it is recommended that by the end of your pregnancy, your weight gain should be 15 to 25 pounds. Nonetheless, if your BMI is 30 or higher, it is recommended that you gain 11 to 20 pounds during pregnancy. Women who gain more than the recommended weight face the risk of developing gestational diabetes.
Pointers on losing weight in pregnancy
During your pregnancy, your body tends to gain weight and adjust due to the growing infant. However, the weight gain depends on your height, weight before pregnancy, or whether you carrying twins or one child. You can use the pregnancy weight calculator to help you determine the ideal weight gain for each weight. You first need to understand your caloric needs before delving into losing weight in pregnancy.
Do not allow the pregnancy to be an excuse for you to eat everything you want. Being overweight or indulging in poor food choices can significantly affect the health of not only your child but also puts you at risk. On the other hand, dieting during pregnancy is not advisable as it can deny your child the much-needed nutrients. Your key concern should be being healthy. Therefore, eat frequent, but small meals, eat a balanced meal, take regular exercises and avoid stress. Avoid foods containing artificial sugars, junk food, or unhealthy fats such as margarine, mayonnaise or butter.
Just because you are expecting does not mean that you stop exercising. Engaging in proper workouts depending on the trimester will help you with weight control. Keeping a proper diet, exercise and an overall healthy lifestyle will help you control your weight during the pregnancy, and will make it easier for you to shed off the weight, after the pregnancy.
Congratulations on the baby!
- Lammi-Keefe C.J.,Couch S.J.,& Philipson E. Handbook of Nutrition and Pregnancy, Springer Science & Business Media, 2008