You could have a number of things going on that you’ve not previously experienced – weight gain or loss, dry mouth, nausea, aches and pains – the list goes on. The concept of actually losing weight during pregnancy might seem absurd, but it’s actually surprisingly common, especially during the first trimester.
We’ll explore today some of the reasons underpinning weight loss during pregnancy and look at what you can do to combat this phenomenon.
Reasons for Weight Loss in Early Pregnancy
It’s only natural to expect your weight to climb when you’re pregnant. A few extra pounds are always good to ensure your baby stays healthy, but it’s also common to lose weight at varying stages of pregnancy. It’s also perfectly safe and nothing to worry about so how about when weight loss happens during early pregnancy?
One of the most common reasons to explain weight loss in the first trimester is morning sickness.
Morning sickness affects fully 80% of expectant mothers. If you’re feeling nauseous and even the blandest of food seems unappetizing, it’s only natural you might start losing a little weight. Beyond this, vomiting also has a negative effect on the way you absorb the calories and nutrients in your food.
When does this become a problem, though?
A general rule of thumb is that if weight loss is less than 10% of your overall body weight, it’s absolutely nothing to worry about. You should also be aware that you won’t usually gain too much weight during the very early stages of pregnancy anyway.
The good news with morning sickness is that it tends to fade away, somewhere around the 14th week of pregnancy. Not only will your appetite likely return with a vengeance, but you’ll also find you put that weight back on with considerable interest!
As with any kind of issue you experience during pregnancy, speak with your doctor if you’re in any way alarmed about weight loss when you’re beginning your journey. If morning sickness is especially problematic, you can get some medication to ease it and hopefully regain your appetite at the same time.
Aside from morning sickness, if you were clinically obese before pregnancy, you might find some of that stored fat being used to help your pregnancy along. Throw in a tendency to eat more healthily when you’ve got the health of an unborn baby to consider, and you might find the weight you found so tough to shift starts coming away.
How about when weight loss occurs after the first trimester, though? Is this still safe?
Reasons for Weight Loss in The Later Stages of Pregnancy
Remember that very little of the weight you put on during pregnancy goes toward helping your baby grow. The vast bulk of the extra weight is stored as fat to ensure you’ve got enough energy in reserve for the rigours ahead. We point this out because many expectant mothers assume losing weight will negatively impact the growing baby—this is not the case.
Many expectant mothers already have ample fat stores in place for the challenges ahead. This means your body won’t be crying out for more, and you might not put as much weight on as your friends have.
That said, if you continue to lose weight after the first trimester, you should certainly speak with your doctor. While often harmless and related to water-retention, weight loss in the latter stages of pregnancy could indicate subpar growth of your baby. Other more serious issues such as low levels of amniotic fluid or pregnancy-induced hypertension could be to blame.
While you shouldn’t panic, it’s essential to speak with your doctor if your weight is dipping after the first trimester to rule out these more serious underlying causes.
If you’ve got any concerns about losing weight during pregnancy, what can you do to mitigate this?
How To Fight Back Against Weight Loss During Pregnancy
Eating small meals on a regular basis can help you combat nausea so often triggered by morning sickness. Make sure you have plenty of healthy snacks close at hand.
Stay properly hydrated by drinking a flat minimum of 2 litres of water daily.
Make sure you take your prenatal vitamins but go easy on the iron. This can worsen feelings of nausea.
Get as much sleep as you possibly can and stay in close contact with your doctor.