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Not Gaining Weight During Pregnancy

by Katlyn Joy | August 15, 2011
24 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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kdod Nov 23, 2014 07:17:42 PM ET

I'm 33 weeks pregnancy. when i found out i was pregnant, i weighed 274 lbs. now, i'm 258 lbs. is there a problem? they said my baby is growing how it should, but i'm still worried.

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Victoria Nov 19, 2014 03:23:52 PM ET

Hi i'm pregnant with my 4th baby. i'm 12 weeks now. with my first pregnancy, i gained 2 stone. my second i gained the 1st 4 pounds. my third, i gained 25 pounds. this pregnancy i've gained 4 pounds. i feel i'm going to go big. i started of at 7 stone. i'm 7 stone 11 now at 12 weeks. my kids were 5 pounds, 5 pounds, and 6 pounds. what's your thoughts. i'm starving all the time, but eat one meal a day.

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Guest Nov 7, 2014 09:16:28 AM ET

My wife is 34 weeks pregnant before pregnant, she was 45 kg and now after 34 weeks her weight is 50. 5 kg from last 4 weeks her weight is same as 50 kg. is there a problem?

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Guest Oct 8, 2014 07:15:26 AM ET

I'm 34 weeks tomorrow, and had my appointment toady, measuring at 30 weeks. i've only gained 13 pounds and i'm very scared. i have to get a growth scan.

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liza Sep 28, 2014 11:24:19 PM ET

I'm 22 weeks, and i started off weighing 134 pounds. i lost 10 pounds in the first trimester, and gained back the 10 lbs slowly, but i'm losing it again. i'm now 131 pounds and i have no energy. plus, i have a pinched nerve in my lower back. i'm kind of worried that i'm going to have a difficult time delivering because of the lack of weight gain and energy.

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annmarie Sep 24, 2014 09:47:05 AM ET

I'm 30 weeks pregnant, and have lost 20lbs since i was 12 weeks pregnant. i have lost 7 lbs since week 22. so overall i have gained nothing.

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Britney Kearce Sep 11, 2014 03:00:00 PM ET

I am 12 weeks and 4 days pregnant. i don't have morning sickness or anything like that. i eat all day long, but i am not gaining any weight at all. i do general walking around and all, but i don't exercise. so i don't understand. i started off weigh about 105 but came off some medicine which dropped me down to 99. but now i'm not gaining anything at all, i'm actually down to 97. should i be worried? what can i do? i'm trying not to stress about it, but it does worry me.

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sara hull Aug 25, 2014 01:21:55 AM ET

I'm 14 weeks along (my first pregnancy) pre-pregnancy i weighed 192 lbs. i'm down to 161 lbs. i cant keep any food down and have absolutely no appetite. do you have any advice on how to gain weigh and feel better? i want to enjoy being pregnant, but i lay in bed most the day because of lack of energy. i have had a sch bleed 9 days ago and had a terrible time with uti's. they said my baby is doing great with a very strong heart beat and moving a lot. momma just wants to enjoy this. help!?!

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Guest Jul 29, 2014 06:59:02 AM ET

I am 18 weeks pregnant and i haven't put on any weight.

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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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