There was a time when doctors would advise women to keep a strict watch on their weight while pregnant and even recommend dieting. However we now know that losing weight during pregnancy is not a good idea, and is not advisable. We look at the different scenarios relating to weight gain and loss in pregnancy:
When losing weight during pregnancy could be normal
Weight loss is actually quite common during the first trimester of pregnancy, when a woman can experience nausea and vomiting and other digestive disturbances. It could be that your altered sense of taste and smell puts you off eating what you eat usually and as much as you eat normally.
So initially you may find yourself losing weight during pregnancy first trimester and this is quite normal and nothing to worry about, so long as a slow and steady weight gain follows soon thereafter.
Why losing weight during pregnancy is not advisable
There are a lot of reasons why women do and should gain weight during pregnancy: the weight of the uterus increases as it stretches and expands, the placenta grows and has its own weight, the amniotic fluid also is an additional weight, and the breasts also grow in size and put on weight.
Then there is the fact that the baby itself is growing and will typically be between 7 and 8 pounds at the time of childbirth.
So a pregnant woman needs to put on weight during pregnancy. Women who were overweight before their pregnancy should gain less weight, but losing weight during pregnancy is not advisable even for them.
This is because the baby will get nourishment at the cost of the mother’s health and eventually the baby’s growth and proper nourishment will also suffer.
Why women can continue to lose weight in the later stages of pregnancy
One of the reasons why some women lose weight during their pregnancy is a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum. In this case women continue losing weight even after the first trimester because of excessive vomiting. Some women find that they can keep very little if any food down, and this is a case that needs urgent medical attention, because the health of the mother as well as the pregnancy are in danger here.
However some women tend to lose weight for no particular reason during pregnancy, and will often report to their own mothers having had similar experiences. In some cases this weight loss may be normal and really nothing to worry about.
When to go to the doctor about losing weight during pregnancy
If a woman’s weight loss occurs due to persistent and severe vomiting, contacting the doctor promptly is highly advisable. Women with hyperemesis gravidarum could also feel lightheaded, or may have fainting spells, and should contact the doctor at once.
Also women with other medical conditions such as thyroid imbalances, diabetes and so on should contact the doctor if they are losing weight during pregnancy seemingly without any known reason or cause.