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Low Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Causes & Remedies

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not gaining weight during pregnancy

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While several pregnant women struggle with excessive weight gain, many others face the problem of not gaining weight during pregnancy. Gaining a sufficient amount of weight is essential for the proper growth and development of the baby. Not gaining enough weight during pregnancy can not only tire out women but also cause several pregnancy complications.

It is perfectly normal not to gain too much weight during the first trimester but once you enter the second trimester, it is essential to pick up on your weight and consume more food since the baby is growing as well. As you move into the third trimester, your weight as well as your food intake needs to increase steadily. You can use a pregnancy calculator to figure out how much weight you need to gain based on your pre-pregnancy BMI (Body Mass Index).

Lack of weight gain during pregnancy can be harmful to both mother and child. It is advisable to consult a doctor if you are not gaining a sufficient amount of weight even as you enter the second trimester. Given below are a few reasons that could be the causes of low weight gain during pregnancy, although these could greatly vary from one person to another depending on genetics, food intake, metabolism, and activity level.

5 Causes of Not Gaining Weight During Pregnancy

Several factors could contribute to women not gaining enough weight during pregnancy. Some of the most common causes include:

1) Morning sickness

Morning sickness, which includes nausea and vomiting, is a common phenomenon during pregnancy and could be one of the main causes of many women not gaining weight during pregnancy. Even though morning sickness usually clears up after the initial months of pregnancy, in some cases it can lead to dehydration and malnutrition. Make sure that you consult a doctor regularly during the pregnancy period.

2) Eating Disorders

Loss of appetite and aversion to different kinds of food are common symptoms of pregnancy but these can also result in eating disorders and ultimately lead to pregnant women not gaining sufficient weight. Weight loss due to sudden changes in diet, eating disorders, and intentional dieting are harmful and should be avoided at all costs.

3) Lack of Proper Diet

Lack of proper diet could be one of the main reasons many women lose weight during pregnancy. Meals lacking in essential nutrients can greatly affect the health of both mother and baby. It is essential to consult a registered dietitian and figure out a proper diet during the course of your pregnancy.

4) Other Digestive Problems

Other problems like constipation and indigestion may contribute to a lack of weight gain during pregnancy. Indigestion can be caused by hormonal changes, excessive stress, or the baby pushing against your stomach. Some symptoms of indigestion are heartburn, reflux, and vomiting. If the symptoms are severe, make sure you consult a doctor immediately.

5) Body Image Issues

The bodies of pregnant women go through several changes including stretch marks and weight gain. Pregnancy makes many women feel negative and insecure about their body image. This dissatisfaction or negativity could lead to skipping meals or a lack of consumption of proper foods, which might have adverse effects on the health of the baby.

Ways to Gain Weight During Pregnancy

Lack of pregnancy weight gain can be tackled with help from a registered dietitian. Gaining the right amount of weight is essential for a healthy pregnancy. Some ways in which you can gain more weight during pregnancy include:

1) Consume Nutrient-dense Food Items

Consumption of nutrient-dense food filled with healthy fats, protein, and fiber is essential for any woman during pregnancy. Food items that are rich in nutrients include avocados, fatty fish, nuts, olive oil, eggs, cheese, dried fruit, oatmeal, brown rice, lean meat, and vegetables. These foods are healthy and help women gain enough weight during pregnancy.

2) Increase Calorie Intake

Extra calories are essential for the health of both mother and child during the course of pregnancy. Pregnant women should gradually increase their calorie intake as they move into the second and third trimesters since the baby also requires more nutrition. Make sure you eat foods that are rich in calories like olive oil, butter, cream cheese, or sour cream.

3) Avoid Consumption of Junk Food

Even though you might be craving junk food during pregnancy, it must be avoided at all costs. Junk food has low nutritional value and high sugar content, both of which are not good during the course of pregnancy. Eating junk food may also cause digestive problems and increase the risk of gestational diabetes.

4) Have Small Meals Frequently

During pregnancy, it is advisable to take small meals throughout the day. In this way, you can increase your calories intake and slowly gain enough weight. Make sure you carry some calorie-rich food with you so that every time you feel hungry, you can snack on fruits, nuts, or other eatables. Consult a registered dietitian and make a diet chart that will help you in gaining enough weight.

5) Do Not Skip Meals

One of the main reasons for not gaining weight during pregnancy is skipping meals, either due to nausea or aversion to certain kinds of food. Take active measures to combat nausea and make sure you are eating well throughout the course of your pregnancy. This is essential for gaining enough weight and providing proper nutrients to the baby.

Proper pregnancy weight gain is crucial to the well-being of both the mother and child. It is mostly advised for women to gain 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. It should be more for women who were underweight in the first place, and less for those who were overweight. In case you are concerned about not gaining enough weight during pregnancy, consult a doctor or a nutritionist. They can help you devise a well-balanced diet sheet that might help you gain the right amount of weight.

Not Gaining Weight During Pregnancy FAQs

1) What should a pregnant woman eat to gain weight?

Instead of having three big meals, try eating smaller, frequent meals. Make sure you always keep food nearby to nibble on in case you feel hungry. Add food items that give you a few extra calories like dry fruits, nuts, crackers, peanut butter, and ice cream to your diet.

2) What could happen in case of low weight gain during pregnancy?

In case women don't gain weight during the course of their pregnancy, it could lead to birth complications like premature delivery or low birth weight. Low weight gain might also have adverse effects on the health of both mother and child.

3) What foods cause indigestion during pregnancy?

Eating big meals or high-fat foods could lead to indigestion during pregnancy. Indigestion can also be caused by excessive stress, doing physical activities immediately after meals, or consuming a lot of caffeinated drinks.

4) When do you gain the most weight during pregnancy?

Most women gain the most weight during the third trimester. This is because the baby gains maximum weight during this time. It is essential to consume lots of nutrient-rich foods and take care of your health since they are both essential to the baby's well-being.

5) How do women lose weight during pregnancy?

Several women lose weight due to nausea and vomiting, especially during the first trimester. Other reasons include lack of proper diet and eating disorders. In case your weight does not pick up even as you move into the second trimester, make sure you consult a doctor.

On behalf of the editorial team at Parenthoodbliss, we follow strict reporting guidelines and only use credible sources, along with peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and highly respected health organizations. To learn about how we maintain content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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