Can Pregnancy Cause Weight Loss?
Pregnancy is a time of immense physical, emotional and mental change and growth for women. One change that occurs is weight gain. While it is true that women gain weight during pregnancy, in some very special cases, weight loss may also be experienced.
What Causes Weight Gain During Pregnancy?
The weight gained during pregnancy usually comes from an increase in fluids and fat. Fluid retention is caused by an increase in hormones and providing nutrition for a growing baby. Extra fat is also commonly gained because the body stores additional energy to be used during labor, birth and breastfeeding.
Under What Circumstances May Weight Loss Occur During Pregnancy?
Weight loss during pregnancy is rare and typically only occurs among women who experienced either severe morning sickness or extreme hyperemesis gravidarum , which is an extreme form of morning sickness. Women who suffer from severe morning sickness are unable to keep food down, or the food they do manage to keep down is not properly metabolized. As a result, weight can be lost. However, after the morning sickness symptoms have subsided, most women gain more weight than they lost.
What Are the Risks of Losing Weight During Pregnancy?
The weight a woman puts on during pregnancy is important for both her own health, and her baby’s. Weight loss can increase the likelihood of complications such as:
- Increased risk of preterm labor
- Low birth weight
- Lack of nutrition for the baby
- Developmental delays in the baby
How Can Weight Loss During Pregnancy Be Prevented?
It is important for women to work with their health care provider to monitor and manage the potential for weight loss during pregnancy. Eating small, frequent meals at regular intervals throughout the day instead of larger, more filling meals can usually help prevent weight loss. Additionally, reducing exercise intensity and frequency, and avoiding high-intensity calorie burning in favor of more gentle, low-intensity activities such as yoga or Pilates may help prevent a significant amount of weight loss.
At the end of the day, the best way to ensure healthy weight gain during pregnancy is to maintain a balanced diet and to take steps to limit nausea and vomiting. If at any point weight loss becomes a concern, seek out the help of a qualified health practitioner to ensure the health of both mom and baby.
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