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Not Gaining Weight During Pregnancy

by Katlyn Joy
15 Comments


Not Gaining Weight During Pregnancy

Weight gain in pregnancy is a natural process and an important one. For most women it's not too hard to do, in fact they may well have difficulty with limiting just how many pounds to pack on. However for some women the act of gaining weight is elusive. It can be due to extreme morning sickness, a high metabolism or a predisposition to not gaining weight easily.

How Much Weight Should I Gain?

For most women an expected amount of weight gain is between 25 and 35 pounds. This is for average or healthy sized women with BMIs between 18.5 and 24.9.

For overweight women, with BMIs of 25 to 29.9, the recommended amount is 15 to 25 pounds. For obese women as indicated by BMIs of 30 or above, a weight gain of 11 to 20 pounds is best.

For underweight women who start pregnancy with BMIs of 18.5 or less, the goal is to gain 28 to 40 pounds.

Learn more about the recommendations

When Will I Begin to Gain Weight?

Obviously pregnancy is a process, and you won't gain weight all at once. In fact a sudden weight gain can be a red flag indicating excessive water gain which may be due to toxemia.

The first trimester will see you gaining the least amount of your pregnancy weight. You can expect to see gains in the range of merely a pound up to 4 and a half pounds.

The second and third trimesters mean gaining at a steady pace, generally about one or two pounds a week.

Not gaining enough weight can have serious implications for the baby and the pregnancy. The most common and serious are preterm delivery and having a low birthweight baby.

Where Do the Pounds Go?

Baby: 7 to 8 pounds

Placenta: 1 to 2 pounds

Uterus: 2 pounds

Amniotic fluid: 2 pounds

Breast tissue: 2 pounds

Blood increase: 4 pounds

Fluid: 4 pounds

Maternal fat: 4 pounds

Causes of Inadequate Weight Gain

Some women experience such fatigue and morning sickness particularly in the first trimester that they not only don't gain any weight, but may in fact lose a few pounds. Your doctor will keep an eye on this pattern, but will likely advise you not to be overly worried as many women have their own unique pattern for gaining weight and while they may not pack on any pounds at the outset of the pregnancy, in the next trimester they will probably play catch-up pretty quickly.

Hyperemesis gravidarum is extreme morning sickness. Fewer than 1 percent of pregnant women will have this condition but severe cases can cause a woman to lose up to 10 to 20 percent of her body weight resulting in electrolyte imbalance.

Some women who have high metabolisms and don't have a lot of extra weight to begin with will not gain adequate weight particularly if they are burning too many calories with exercise. The solution is to slow it up. It probably won't be necessary to stop working out altogether but taking it down a notch is probably best.

Many other women simply are not putting in enough calories, especially the preferred nutrition-packed types. For instance, while high calorie sodas will raise the daily calorie intake, the nutrition reaped will be nil. A better choice would be a juice or a serving of yogurt with fresh fruit and a glass of milk. If a woman is not eating enough to support a healthy pregnancy weight gain, one solution would be to seek the advice of a nutritionist.

Other options include making certain you slow down at your meals and eat frequently enough. If you are having difficulty with morning sickness, frequent small meals will usually stay down better than larger, richer meals. Make certain you don't skip breakfast, and do opt for those late night healthy snacks as well. Bump up the calories with wheat germ, dried milk, peanut butter or cheese.

It might be suggested that you create a log of your weight gain progress. This will help you stay on track, make adjustments to your diet and exercise program, and let you know if you are not gaining enough weight, or if your are gaining too much weight. Baby's Corner's pregnancy weight gain tracker will guide you and help you stay on track for a healthy pregnancy. Learn how much you should gain each week of your pregnancy based on your body mass index, how many calories you should be eating, and track your calories, weight, and exercise.


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Savannah Jun 6, 2014 12:23:07 AM ET

I am almost 17 weeks and i have not gained any weight. in fact i have lost almost 10 pounds. why is this?

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amy in cali Jul 15, 2013 01:54:20 PM ET

I started at 140lbs lost 10 in my first trimester due to morning sickness(130lbs). now i'm 35 weeks but i've been at 151lbs for two month :( i eat but not as much ad before because of severe heartburn, i mean stomacher acid coming out of my nose even when i just drink water :( so eating a lot is something i'm deathly afraid of. what i'm wondering is do i count my weight gain from the 140 where i started? or the 130, my lowest weight during my prehancy?

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Caty Jul 3, 2013 07:57:55 PM ET

Im 19 weeks and have lost half a pound!! its all good though my doctor said im healthy as a horse!!! i only gained 19 with my first child and plan on not gaining more then 10 with this one.

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Bobbie Apr 12, 2013 09:18:34 AM ET

I am 33 weeks and have only gained 9 pounds. i started out at 114 and now 123. i have never in my life been over 117.

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SassyClassy Mar 20, 2013 03:34:30 AM ET

I'm 26 weeks and have only gained 11 pounds. it's 2 pounds under the lower end of where i should be. i feel like i'm eating enough but i'm not sure...

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Sky Feb 22, 2013 09:25:35 AM ET

I'm 11w 2d.. before pregnancy i weighed 125, now down to 118. i eat an amazing amount of food and i'm past the baby bump stage where i actually look pregnant yet not gaining weight. this is the first pregnancy that i have been able to carry past first trimester. to say the least i'm getting a little scared.

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tiana Dec 28, 2012 12:26:04 AM ET

28 weeks pregnant and havn't gained a pound, actually lost 40., and kept it off. dr seems fine with it though.

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Julie Nov 7, 2012 12:16:39 AM ET

I'm 24 weeks and 4 days and i have lost 43 pounds since becoming pregnant. i've not had morning sickness and i'm eating healthy but i'm still dropping weight my ob says i will have to talk to a nutritionist but so long as the baby is fine she doesn't see a problem with my weight loss.

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Julie Nov 7, 2012 12:16:38 AM ET

I'm 24 weeks and 4 days and i have lost 43 pounds since becoming pregnant. i've not had morning sickness and i'm eating healthy but i'm still dropping weight my ob says i will have to talk to a nutritionist but so long as the baby is fine she doesn't see a problem with my weight loss.

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courtney Oct 24, 2012 10:57:20 PM ET

I am 16 wks 2 days pregnant and haven't gained any weight yet. i asked the nurse at my obgyn n she said its no big deal. i also had a quick ultrasound yesterday n my dr said baby looks fine. so i'm not gonna stress bout not puttin on the lbs cuz i kno it'll happen eventually.

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