Being pregnant is synonymous with piling on kilos, but what if you notice that you’re actually losing weight instead? If you’re a first time mom-to-be, a drop in the numbers on your weighing scale might worry or even confuse you. But here’s something that you should know - losing weight when you’re expecting is normal, however it depends on which stage of pregnancy you are in.
When is it normal to lose pregnancy weight?
Doctors say that a healthy woman ideally must put on about 10-12 kgs through pregnancy. Most of this weight comes from the baby, the blood, tissue fluids and the fat stored in the body. This weight gain begins gradually from the first trimester. But if you’re suffering from nausea and morning sickness, you might not gain any weight or even lose weight, thanks (or no thanks) to the heightened sense of smell and the loss of appetite.
“Weight loss is not uncommon in pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. In previously overweight women, the fat reserves of the body may be used up for providing nutrition to the growing baby, so they don’t perceive any weight gain. If additionally, they don’t increase the quantity of diet during pregnancy, they may experience weight loss,” says Dr Papia Goswami Mukherjee, consultant gynaecologist from Navi Mumbai.
Will my baby be affected if I lose weight during pregnancy?
Fortunately, no. In the first trimester, your baby is too tiny to draw out a large amount of nutrients. Your fat reserves are enough for her/him to grow. “The body’s first priority is to nourish the baby and thus it uses maternal reserves,” adds Dr Mukherjee. However, if you are unable to keep any food down due to severe nausea and morning sickness, consult a doctor.
What if I’m overweight and want to lose weight during pregnancy? How do I achieve that without harming my baby?
During pregnancy, your body stores fat reserves to prepare for delivery and nursing. Losing some weight during pregnancy if you’re overweight might be beneficial, but it has to be achieved through the right diet and exercise. Weight loss by starvation or dieting will strip your body of its nutrients and increase your risk of having a premature baby. The aim is to put on the right amount of ‘healthy weight.’
Here are few ways in which you can manage your weight during pregnancy -
- Eat small and healthy: If you have morning sickness, eat frequent, small meals through the day and snack healthy. “Chew on ginger candies or homemade ginger-honey paste as this eases nausea,” suggests Dr Mukherjee.
- Avoid fatty foods: Deep fried, heavy and oily foods increase morning sickness.
- Know your Body Mass Index: It is important to know your BMI for you to make dietary changes accordingly. For a normal BMI (between 18.5 to 24.9), you should gain not more than 10 kg to 12 kg through your entire pregnancy. The weight gain should be 12 to 15 kg if your BMI has been below 18, 7 to 10 kg if BMI is between 25 to 29.9 and 5-9kg if you are obese.
- Don’t miss your vitamins: Take your prenatal vitamins and iron/calcium supplements regularly. These are required for the optimal growth of your baby.
- Exercise, exercise: If you are losing weight during pregnancy, you might feel like staying away from any kind of physical activity. However, you must exercise not to lose weight but to maintain your stamina and keep pregnancy aches and pains at bay.
- Be aware: Be mindful of what’s happening to your body. While weight loss during the first trimester is normal, a sudden weight loss of 4-5kg may warrant a visit to your doctor to rule out any underlying problem.
- Be healthy and stay healthy, mum-to-be!
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