What Does It Mean If You Lose Weight During Pregnancy?

What Does It Mean If You Lose Weight During Pregnancy?

14 Jul 2022 | 4 min Read

Sayani Basu

Author | 511 Articles

Talking about pregnancy, weight loss is not usually the first thing that comes to mind. Most expecting women put on some weight during pregnancy. Besides the baby’s body weight, you’re now eating for two. So, weight gain is natural during pregnancy.

It is also recommended that pregnant women should gain approximately 25 pounds (11 kg) over the course of gestation. However, some pregnant mums end up losing some weight during their pregnancy. Depending on your starting weight, weight loss during pregnancy can either be beneficial or risky for the development of your baby. 

Read on to know more.

Causes Of Weight Loss During Pregnancy

Weight loss during pregnancy can be alarming. Some of the reasons behind it are:

  1. Morning sickness:  If you’re suffering from nausea and morning sickness, you might not gain weight and end up losing some weight.

Despite what it sounds like, morning sickness can strike at any time of the day and can be due to low blood sugar or the rise in pregnancy hormones, such as human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG).

According to research, it is common in 70% of pregnancies.

To help relieve nausea, try to avoid having an empty stomach. Eating in small amounts every one to two hours can be a good idea.

Pregnancy weight loss
Morning sickness can sometimes escalate to a more serious and extreme form, leading to hyperemesis gravidarum. | Image Source: freepik
  1. Hyperemesis Gravidarum: Morning sickness can sometimes escalate to a more serious and extreme form, leading to hyperemesis gravidarum (HG).

In this condition, the expecting woman experience magnified symptoms and more substantial weight loss. It can also lead to dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances as well.

Some of the signs of hyperemesis gravidarum during pregnancy include:

  • Loss of appetite and substantial weight loss
  • Increase in heart rate and a constant feeling of nausea
  • Vomiting more than four times a day and dehydrated
  • Feeling dizzy or light-headedness resulting to fainting episodes

In addition to these, weight loss during pregnancy can also be the result of:

  • Autoimmune and eating disorders
  • Endocrine imbalance
  • Cancers
  • Infections
  • Gastrointestinal diseases
  • Psychiatric disorders and neurologic abnormalities
  • Undiagnosed diabetes
  • Substance use
  • Thyroid disorders like hyperthyroidism

Possible Dangers of Weight Loss

Losing excessive weight during pregnancy has been linked with increased risk of decreased birth weight and preterm delivery.

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), weight loss of the expecting mum can lead to preterm birth that occurs when a baby is born too early (before 37 weeks of pregnancy have been completed).

Babies who have low body weight at birth and are pre-term are susceptible to other health conditions or abnormalities because their bodies have not had the ability to develop fully.

You should consult your doctor if you notice excessive weight loss or gain. | Image Source: freepik

Treatment for Hyperemesis Gravidarum to Manage Weight Loss

Some of the possible treatments for HG might are:

  • Preventive measures: A pressure-point wristband, similar to those used for motion sickness, and consuming Vitamin B6 tablets (after consulting a doctor) can be a good idea.
  • Small frequent meals: Try to eat at small intervals and keep a snack handy.
  • Total parenteral nutrition (TPN): The most severe cases of hyperemesis gravidarum can also require complex, balanced solutions of nutrients through an IV throughout pregnancy.
  • Medicines: Medication is necessary if the condition is a threat to the mum or the baby. The most commonly used anti-nausea drugs prescribed by the doctors are meclizine, promethazine, and droperidol.

It is advisable to have a check on your weight throughout the pregnancy. You should consult your doctor if you notice excessive weight loss or gain. The doctor can guide you accordingly and prescribe a healthy diet.

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