Whether you’re planning on intentionally losing weight while pregnant, or you’re worried about weight loss during pregnancy, we’ve got all you need to know to stay safe.
We all expect to gain some weight during pregnancy – after all, there’s a small human growing in there, and our bodies need to provide a safe and cozy home.
So, what happens when, instead of piling on the pounds, you find yourself losing weight while pregnant? Let’s find out.
Important note: This is just a guide.
If you’re at all concerned about weight loss in pregnancy, go directly to your healthcare provider and get their professional (and personalized) advice.
In this article: 📝
- Why do people gain weight in pregnancy?
- Can you lose weight while pregnant?
- Is it safe to lose weight while pregnant?
- How can I get in shape while pregnant?
Why do people gain weight in pregnancy?
Gaining weight during pregnancy is totally normal and necessary for the task of growing a whole new person.
Some of the extra weight is, of course, accounted for by your developing baby and placenta.
The rate of weight gain is different depending on how far through your pregnancy you are.
In the first trimester, you may only put on around 1 to 4 pounds in total (your baby is the size of a walnut at this point!).
From four months until delivery, you’re probably looking at around 2 to 4 pounds of weight gain each month.
To achieve that, you don’t actually need to follow the old saying to “eat for two”!
How many calories should a pregnant woman eat?
According to the latest research, you only really need an extra 300 calories per day when pregnant.
That’s the equivalent of eating an apple with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, or 1 cup of 2% cottage cheese with half a cup of mashed banana.
Not craving any of those? We’ve got lots more healthy and nutritious pregnancy snack ideas for you.
Not gaining weight during pregnancy
If you have no weight gain during pregnancy, it’s worth checking in with your doctor.
However, no weight gain for the first trimester is perfectly normal ‒ baby won’t be needing much by way of nutrients until about week 16 of your pregnancy.
Not gaining weight during pregnancy second trimester could be a sign that baby’s not getting the nutrients they need, so if that’s the case, pay a visit to your doctor.
They might suggest a pregnancy meal plan or for you to increase your calorie intake.
Can you lose weight while pregnant?
So, if weight gain is essential for growing a baby, why do some women actually lose weight while pregnant?
And is it ok to lose weight while pregnant? Well, hopefully, we can explain…
Losing weight in the first trimester
It’s common to experience some weight loss in pregnancy during the first trimester, when morning sickness strikes.
And when all you’ve been able to stomach for days is a couple of crackers or some dry toast, it’s no wonder that losing weight in the first trimester is the result.
The good news is that morning sickness often (though not always) clears up in the second trimester, giving you plenty of time to compensate for the lost pounds.
Remember that, typically, there’s only very minimal weight gain needed in the first trimester anyway.
What can present a problem is a more severe form of morning sickness experienced by some women, called HG (hyperemesis gravidarum).
This is where very frequent vomiting leads to more substantial weight loss.
However, it is treatable with medication and extra fluids, and it usually retreats around weeks 14 to 20.
How much weight loss in first trimester is OK?
It’s totally healthy to lose a couple of pounds in the first trimester, whether that’s due to pregnancy nausea or food aversion.
However, if you’re losing more than 2-3 pounds in your first trimester, we advise talking with your doctor.
Why am I losing weight during pregnancy without morning sickness?
We’ve heard from our mamas on Peanut that they’ve lost 10 pounds in first trimester without any pregnancy nausea.
While it’s not that common, losing weight while pregnant first trimester with no morning sickness has been known to happen.
If this is happening to you, check in with your healthcare provider, just in case.
Do you burn more calories when pregnant first trimester?
Technically speaking, no, you don’t burn more calories during the first trimester of pregnancy.
And you shouldn’t need to add more calories to your diet during the first trimester.
The need for additional calories will be needed from your second trimester, though, as your metabolism increases ‒ you are carrying another human, after all!
Why am I losing weight during pregnancy 2nd trimester?
There can be a few reasons why you’re losing weight in your second trimester.
Morning sickness might have stuck around, making it hard to keep food down, which can be the culprit for losing a couple of pounds during the second trimester.
However, if you’re losing consistently for more than a couple of weeks of your pregnancy, you should talk with your doctor.
Weight loss in third trimester
A lot of mamas-to-be find themselves losing weight in third trimester, especially as they get closer to their due date.
This pregnancy weight loss is nothing to worry about ‒ it’s usually because your amniotic fluid levels may be reducing and your energy levels are increasing (which could be a sign of nesting).
Is it normal to lose weight at 32 weeks pregnant?
Weight loss at 32 weeks of pregnancy can be totally normal, but there’s a chance it also might not.
It could be that your energy levels have peaked, and you’re burning more calories than before, but it can also mean that there’s something impacting baby’s development.
As with all unusual pregnancy weight loss, it’s best to talk with your healthcare provider.
Does losing weight mean labor is near?
It might be.
As your amniotic levels drop when you get closer to your due date, that could cause some pregnancy weight loss in the third trimester, too.
🔎 Take a closer look: Signs That Labor is 24–48 Hours Away
Do you lose weight when pregnant with a boy?
Actually, it could be to the contrary!
However, the results were pretty close, so how much or little weight you gain or lose during pregnancy may not be linked to the sex of your baby.
Is it safe to lose weight while pregnant?
If you find yourself with some unexplained weight loss in pregnancy, this is something to mention to your healthcare provider.
Some medical conditions can lead to weight loss in pregnancy, including infections, hormonal imbalance, undiagnosed diabetes, and an overactive thyroid.
Risks of losing weight during pregnancy
You might rightly ask “ok, so when should I worry about weight loss during pregnancy?”
As we saw above, losing weight in the first trimester isn’t usually an issue, but continuing to lose weight during pregnancy can potentially cause problems for your baby.
After all, they need those extra calories to grow and develop!
This could then lead to other health problems during baby’s life as they didn’t get enough energy or nutrients for their full development in the uterus.
So, if you’re concerned about losing weight during pregnancy, be sure to check in with your healthcare provider.
Lack of appetite during pregnancy
In pregnancy, loss of appetite can be par for the course.
If you have no appetite while pregnant, whether that’s due to pregnancy nausea, food aversion, or pregnancy cravings that you can’t satisfy (hello, pica), you’re not alone.
In fact, according to this 2019 study, 69.2% of women had an aversion to at least one food, which can cause a lack of appetite during pregnancy.
Having no appetite while pregnant can be tough, but not impossible to solve.
After all, baby needs their nutrients to grow!
Try eating smaller meals or healthy pregnancy snacks more often, rather than bigger meals.
Can an overweight person lose weight during pregnancy?
You might have heard stories of some women losing 50 lbs while pregnant, or how another mama lost 60 pounds during pregnancy.
Well, we can’t really tell you whether an overweight person can lose weight while pregnant.
It depends on your personal circumstances, health, medication, and lifestyle.
If you think that your weight could impact your pregnancy, have a talk with your doctor about how to safely lose weight during pregnancy.
What happens to existing belly fat when pregnant?
If you have some belly fat before pregnancy, it might be that your pregnancy belly isn’t as obvious as you might expect.
But later in pregnancy, you may notice that your belly fat spreads more evenly over your baby bump.
Can you lose fat while pregnant?
Yes, you can lose fat while pregnant, although there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to healthy weight loss.
The best thing to do if you’re keen to lose weight while pregnant is to speak with your healthcare provider.
How can I get in shape while pregnant?
If you’re looking for a detailed guide on how to lose weight during pregnancy, let us tell you now that you won’t find it ‒ not here or anywhere else.
Your weight loss journey ‒ whether you’re looking to lose weight while pregnant, before getting pregnant, or postpartum ‒ will be unique to you.
What works for you may not work for another mama-to-be, and vice-versa.
And as for the question can I lose weight while pregnant?, well, that’s not really our place to say.
It’s all down to your health (both mental and physical), circumstances, and your goals.
The same goes for a “how to not gain weight during pregnancy” handbook ‒ there simply isn’t one.
Weight gain while pregnant is perfectly normal (and pretty necessary).
From personal experience, we know it’s easier said than done to stay on the healthy stuff – but here are a few pointers for getting the nutrients you need during pregnancy:
- Eating well: Fill up on plenty of veggies, whole grains, and protein (lean meats, lentils, nuts, and seeds). Sugary snacks in moderation – though fruit offers a great energy boost. Ask your healthcare provider which vitamin and mineral supplements you could be taking, too.
- Staying hydrated: Replace caffeinated beverages (tea, coffee, cola) with water, herbal tea, or unsweetened fruit juice (in moderation). Drinking enough water during pregnancy will help your growing baby get the nutrients they need, and is great for preventing constipation.
- Keeping active: Gentle exercise during pregnancy is safe for you and your baby, and may help relieve your bump-related aches and pains. You could try a walk in the park, a light swim at your local pool, or even a prenatal yoga class.
- Sleep well: Getting the sleep you need while pregnant is fundamental for absorbing the nutrients both you and baby need, so get those z’s, mama!
There you have it! All there is to know about losing weight while pregnant ‒ whether it’s intentional or not.
Want to hear more stories of pregnancy weight loss firsthand? Join our mamas and mamas-to-be on Peanut to share your hear all about it!
🤰 More on pregnancy health from The 411:
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What to Know About Running While Pregnant
Fever During Pregnancy: The Ultimate Guide
Can You Use a Steam Room When Pregnant?
What to Know About Stress While Pregnant
Can You Lift Weights While Pregnant?
Can You Bowl While Pregnant?
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