Can I Safely Lose Weight During Pregnancy?

by Maggie McCormick

Many women are concerned about the weight that they'll gain during pregnancy, but it's important to note that some weight gain is necessary in most pregnancies. The weight that you gain isn't all fat -- most of it is your baby, placenta, increased blood flow and other things that you need to support your baby. Pregnancy is not the time to try to lose weight, but it's safe in some cases.

Expressing Your Concerns

According to the Mayo Clinic, you should gain between 11 and 40 pounds during your pregnancy, depending on your pre-pregnancy weight. Underweight women need to gain more weight, and overweight and obese women should gain less. If you are concerned about gaining weight, talk to your doctor. She will tell you how much weight gain is healthy for your body type. She may also refer you to a nutritionist, who can help you plan healthy meals to support you and your baby.

Morning Sickness Weight Loss

During the first trimester, you may experience morning sickness, or a feeling of nausea throughout the day. This may include vomiting. During this time, the vomiting and decrease in appetite may cause you to lose a bit of weight. This is normal and healthy. You will likely regain this weight once you feel better.

Dangerous Weight Loss

Hyperemesis gravidarum is similar to morning sickness, but it much more extreme. If you have this disease, you will not be able to keep any food down, resulting in significant weight loss. If you are losing more than a few pounds due to vomiting, please notify your doctor, who can help you with medication and feedings by IV.

Plus-Size Pregnancies

If you were overweight or obese before you became pregnant, you should work closely with your doctor. Overweight women have more risks associated with pregnancy, including gestational diabetes and pre-ecclampsia. These diseases could be deadly to you or your child. In most cases, you should still gain a small amount of weight throughout your pregnancy -- 10 or 15 pounds -- though your doctor may give you the OK to maintain or lose a bit of weight, so long as you are eating properly -- without depriving yourself -- and staying healthy.

Staying Healthy

You can manage your weight gain by making healthy food choices and getting some exercise. According to Baby Center, you need no additional calories during the first trimester, 300 extra calories daily during the second trimester and 450 more calories per day during the third trimester. If you previously had an unhealthy diet, now is a good time to start eating healthier. Building these good habits now will help you to lose weight once your baby is born.

About the Author

Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.

Photo Credits