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Not Gaining Weight During Pregnancy

Katlyn Joy |15, August 2011


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.

Related Articles

Gaining Too Much Pregnancy Weight?

New Moms Are Gaining More Weight Postpartum

Gaining Too Much or Too Little Weight Linked to Obesity in Children

When Your Pregnancy Weight is a Big Deal and When it’s Not

Pregnancy Weight Gain - When Should My OB Be Concerned?


Showing 1 - 10 out of 45 Comments
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Lisa Marie Sep 18, 2018 04:40:35 PM ET

This is my second pregnancy I'm 38 weeks and haven't gained any weight I actually lost around 5 lb this pregnancy and my first pregnancy I didn't gain any weight as well and my baby was very healthy. My Obgyn says that this baby is at the right size as well so the baby is gaining the necessary weight and I'm losing weight I guess. I've been pretty nauseous but for the most part I've been keeping most of my food down but I don't have much of an appetite most days.

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Kyerstin Murphy Mar 14, 2018 08:09:58 PM ET

I am 21 and almost 14 weeks pregnant. I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis gravidarum and have lost 20 pounds due to not being able to keep any foods or liquids down. My doc has tried every medication safe to take and even a couple with some low risks but nothing seems to help. I've even tried in home remedy's off the internet or suggested by my doc or anyone who has had bad morning sickness. I have now also started getting really bad dizzy spells even when sitting down, and terrible heartburn that is so bad I can't even drink water. Any suggestions?

Lauren Mar 28, 2018 02:05:52 PM ET

I'm in a similar situation -24 weeks pregnant with a huge bump but, i'm still 6kg less than pre-pregnancy. still being hospitalized every couple of weeks. zofran (ondansetron) has been a life saver for me. i take 8mg dissolvable wafers every 8 hours. it only works 50% of the time but, that's better than nothing! other medications have been no use to me as i vomit the pills back up but the iv drugs are the best. i truly hope you get some relief soon.

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Danielle Mar 1, 2018 02:33:45 PM ET

I'm 5-3. I'm 11 weeks and I weigh 194.

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Guest Feb 21, 2018 10:18:20 AM ET

I am on 25th week of my pregnancy. I don't have Morning sickness, body swelling etc problem. But I have gained only 3 kg since the beginning. Is it normal? At 20th week my baby's weight was 327 gm (+-47 gm). I am worrying. Please advise.

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Jessica Jan 2, 2018 03:07:34 AM ET

I'm 25 weeks and 5 days pregnant. I'm having my first baby,a boy. My start weight was 138 lbs but, now I'm down to 130. I'm starting to get worried because I'm actually loosing weight and I was pretty small to start with. My doctor has me on supplements but, still no weight gain. Should I be worried? The doctor said my baby is growing fine but, I was anemic before I got pregnant and he said I'm at a high risk for malnutrition. What can I do to gain weight? Nothing I've tried so far is working.

Steph Feb 14, 2018 12:07:58 AM ET

Ask your obgyn to refer you to a nutritionist. i'd absolutely do that if i were you. on a side note, in order to gain weight: if you exercise frequently, cut back on that a little to preserve calories. also, try your best to eat more high calorie healthy foods- etc: nuts, avocado, peas, whole grains, lean meats. i hope you and baby continue to do well.

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eliza Oct 21, 2017 01:59:56 PM ET

I'm 28weeks pregnant and since 22weeks have been 47kg and not gaining any weight. What might be the problem? please advice.

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Neelima Oct 3, 2017 08:56:44 AM ET

I am 23 weeks pregnant. But, starting month to upto now, I just only gained 2kgs. This that my baby is healthy? This is my 1st pregnancy.

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mbali Aug 29, 2017 09:40:30 AM ET

Hi, I'm 32. I'm 4 weeks pregnant and I'm 45kg and I think I don't gain wait. Please help.

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Anna Jul 27, 2017 01:18:58 AM ET

I'm 24weeks pregnant with my baby girl. When I first got pregnant, I was 170, now I'm 160 and my doctor says I've not gained any weight but, my baby is 2pounds already. Does anyone have any idea of what's going on with me?

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Amanda Apr 21, 2017 08:27:10 AM ET

I started at 95 Kgs before pregnancy. I am 31 weeks and n down to 67 KGS I keep loosing it, and so does baby. Any ideas?

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