lose fat during pregnancy

Is It Normal To Lose Weight During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, many women find themselves with more excess pounds than they’re comfortable with. That’s why it’s important to learn how you can lose weight during pregnancy. Pregnancy itself is a time of enormous change and growth. So, too, a woman’s body undergoes tremendous trauma if she chooses not to remain active, continues a sedentary lifestyle, or continues to resume the same poor eating habits that may have caused her to become overweight in the first place.     

Blogger and TV host, Molly Sims shares her advice for safe workouts during pregnancy, including information on what types of exercises to avoid, how to find a prenatal supplement, journaling tips, and more.

The key to safely losing weight during pregnancy is to eat healthily, exercise moderately, and talk to your doctor, who can help you manage any health issues that may arise.

Is It Normal To Lose Weight During Pregnancy First Trimester

It’s not uncommon for women in their first trimester to lose a little bit of weight due to bad nausea and vomiting that precludes them from eating in a normal way,” says Henderson. A loss of appetite because of morning sickness is a common cause of pregnancy weight loss too.

Unless you’re in early pregnancy, it’s not safe to lose weight while pregnant. Your body is working hard to support your growing baby, and if you’re losing weight or dieting while pregnant, you may miss out on important nutrients you need for a healthy pregnancy. If you’re overweight or obese and pregnant, do your best to eat well and exercise regularly – and talk to your provider about gaining weight within a healthy range.

Create A Plan For Gradual Weight Loss During Pregnancy

Even before they’re born, your future baby relies on you in numerous ways. Your body nourishes and carries them for about 40 weeks, helping them grow and develop. Having excess weight can cause problems during pregnancy because it can get in the way of these processes.

Being obese while pregnant may lead to:

Despite such dangers, your best approach to weight loss is through a consistent, yet gradual plan with a focus on healthier lifestyle changes. Gradual weight loss is best for your body and your baby.

If your doctor recommends that you lose weight, here’s how to do so safely during pregnancy.

1. Know how much weight you need to gain

Being overweight during pregnancy can sometimes change the focus to only losing weight. But the fact is, you’ll still gain some weight, and it is important to know how much a healthy amount of is. After all, there is a human growing inside of you!

Follow these pregnancy weight gain guidelines from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney DiseasesTrusted Source, based on your weight before you became pregnant:

  • obese (BMI of 30 or more): gain 11 to 20 pounds
  • BMI between 25 and 29.9: 15 to 25 pounds
  • normal weight (18.5 to 24.9 BMI): can gain between 25 and 35 pounds

2. Cut down on calories

The first way you can lose excess weight is by reducing your daily calorie intake. Eating more calories than you burn off is the most common cause of weight gain. It takes a 3,500-calorie deficit to lose 1 pound. Over the span of a week, this equates to about 500 calories per day to cut out.

Before you slash this many calories from your diet, be sure to keep a log and figure out just how many calories you really eat. You can talk to a dietitian to discuss food plans. You can also look up nutritional labels for foods from stores or restaurants to get a sense of how many calories are in each food.

Keep in mind that pregnant women should eat no fewer than 1,700 calories per day. This is the minimum and helps to ensure that both you and your baby are getting enough energy and nutrients on a regular basis.

If you normally consume far more calories than this, consider cutting down gradually. For example, you can:

Take a daily prenatal vitamin to ensure that you are getting all of the nutrients you and your baby need. Folate is especially important, as it helps decrease the risk for birth defects.

3. Exercise 30 minutes daily

Some women are afraid to exercise out of fear of it harming their babies. But this definitely isn’t true. While some exercises, such as situps, can possibly be harmful, exercise overall is extremely beneficial.

It can help you maintain your weight, reduce birth defects, and even ease some of the aches and pains you experience during pregnancy.

The current recommendation isn’t different from nonpregnant women: 30 minutes of activity per day. If this is too much for you to start, consider breaking up the 30 minutes into shorter blocks of time throughout the day.

Some of the best exercises for pregnant women are:

On the flip side, you should avoid any activities that:

  • rely on balance, such as bike riding or skiing
  • are performed in the heat
  • cause pain
  • make you dizzy
  • are done on your back (after 12 weeks of pregnancy)

4. Address weight concerns early

While you’ll certainly gain weight naturally from your pregnancy, the majority of this weight gain happens in the second and third trimesters. Your baby also grows rapidly during the last two months of pregnancy. You can’t control weight gain attributed to your baby and supporting elements like the placenta, so it’s best to address any weight issues earlier in pregnancy.

Some success in weight intervention among pregnant women has been reported through a study published in the journal ObesityTrusted Source.Researchers found that women who received advice between weeks 7 and 21 of pregnancy were less likely to gain excess weight during the third trimester. The same group of women studied also benefited from weekly support group meetings.

This is just one example of when early planning helped to stave off excess weight gain. If you want to lose weight, or control the amount of weight you gain overall during your pregnancy, be sure to have your doctor help you come up with a plan early on. Your doctor can also refer you to a dietitian for more advice and meal planning.

Next steps

For most pregnant women, weight management is safer than any form of significant weight loss. Despite the benefits of having a lower BMI during pregnancy, losing weight isn’t appropriate for all women.

Part of the concern comes from the methods of traditional weight loss: calorie cutting and exercise. It’s important to watch your calorie intake and to exercise during pregnancy. But overdoing it to an extreme could potentially harm your baby. This is why most doctors don’t recommend weight loss during pregnancy, unless you’re significantly overweight. Discuss any questions or concerns you have with your doctor.

Your doctor can help you make the safest decision for you and your baby. You can always revisit an overall healthy weight loss plan after your baby is born.



Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

can lose weight during pregnancy?

Pregnant women need extra calories to support the growth and development of their baby. While you may be tempted to lose weight, adding pounds during pregnancy is healthier for your baby than trying to shed some before the birth. Many factors influence how much weight you should gain during pregnancy. To manage your weight without sacrificing your health, focus on eating a healthy diet, exercising moderately and keeping track of your progress.

You’ve made the decision to have a baby! Congratulations! As your pregnancy progresses, you may find yourself wondering about how you can get in shape for labor and delivery. With so much advice out there, it’s hard to know what to believe.   

Congratulations! You’re pregnant with your first child. Talk to your doctor about modifying your diet and exercise plan to accommodate your changing needs. Don’t diet, but instead make healthful lifestyle changes that you can stick to. Be sure to get enough calcium, protein and iron for a healthy pregnancy.

Can I lose weight while pregnant?

No matter how much you weigh, it’s not safe to lose weight while pregnant. (The one exception to this in the early weeks of pregnancy – see the reasons why below.)

The effect of a mom’s weight gain or loss on her baby during pregnancy is a complicated issue that experts continue to study, but we know that losing weight during pregnancy isn’t compatible with growing a healthy baby. And if you’re losing weight, you may not be getting all the calories and nutrients you need for a healthy pregnancy.ADVERTISINGPregnancyby BabyCenterREAD MOREGiving birth: What to pack in yourhospital baghttps://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.512.0_debug_en.html#goog_737556115https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.512.0_debug_en.html#goog_737556116https://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.512.0_debug_en.html#goog_737556117

While being overweight or obese during pregnancy increases your risk for some pregnancy complications, losing weight during pregnancy puts you at risk of having a baby who is too small (small for gestational age, or SGA) and for preterm birth.

What if I lose weight in early pregnancy?

It can be normal to lose weight in early pregnancy, due to:

  • Morning sickness. In the first trimester, it’s common to lose weight as the result of morning sickness. The nausea can diminish your appetite, and the vomiting can cause you to miss out on calories. Don’t worry, your baby will get all the necessary calories and nutrients they need at this point.
  • Fat reserves. Overweight women have an extra reserve of calories in stored fat, so as your baby grows, it’s not harmful to maintain or even lose a little weight at first.
  • Improved lifestyle. You might lose weight early on if you’ve started exercising or eating healthier foods when you became pregnant.

In most cases, this weight loss isn’t dangerous. If you’re losing a lot of weight, though, or if you think you may be suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum (severe morning sickness), tell your provider right away.

How much weight to gain if you’re pregnant and overweight or obese

If you started off your pregnancy carrying too much weight for your height, you’re not alone. More than half of pregnant women are overweight or obese.

You’re considered overweight if your pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) is between 25 and 29.9. (Your BMI reflects the relationship between your height and weight, and is an estimate of body fat.) You’re considered obese if your BMI is 30 or greater.

Not sure what your BMI is? Try this BMI calculator.

How much to gain during pregnancy depends on your BMI:

  • If your BMI is 25 to 29.9: It’s recommended that you gain between 15 and 25 pounds by the end of your pregnancy, or approximately 2 to 3 pounds per month in your second and third trimesters.
  • If your BMI is 30 or higher: You’re advised to gain 11 to 20 pounds during pregnancy.

advertisement | page continues below

For guidance, try our pregnancy weight gain calculator and learn more about pregnancy weight gain.

Though it’s not safe to lose weight during pregnancy, if you’re overweight or obese during pregnancy you may be able to safely gain less than the recommended amount – with your healthcare provider’s guidance and monitoring.

Pregnancy weight gain recommendations are provided by the Institutes of Medicine (IOM), and there’s been some controversy about the IOM amounts stated for obese women. One issue is that the IOM provided one recommendation for all obese women (those with a BMI of 30 or higher) rather than different numbers for different categories of obesity.

According to some researchers, if you’re overweight or obese, it may be safe (and advantageous) for you to gain less than IOM guidelines recommend. Some studies show that overweight or obese women who gain only 6 to 14 pounds had similar or better neonatal outcomes than women who gained the recommended 15 to 20 pounds, for example.

If you’re overweight or obese, talk with your provider about your target weight gain during pregnancy. If you gain less weight than recommended, they’ll want to monitor you and your baby to be sure your pregnancy is progressing well and your baby is growing appropriately.advertisement | page continues below

Can I diet to lose weight during pregnancy?

Pregnancy is definitely not the time to go on a weight-loss diet, no matter what weight you’re at. Restricting your food intake is potentially hazardous to you and your developing baby. You need enough calories and nutrients to support a healthy pregnancy and baby.

Also, steer clear of carbohydrate-restrictive diets such as keto and Atkins. Your growing baby needs the carbohydrates, and ongoing ketosis caused by these diets can harm a developing fetus.

During pregnancy, you can keep your weight gain within your target range by eating healthfully and exercising regularly. Do your best to:

  • Eat balanced meals and healthy snacks.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking an average of about ten 8-ounce cups of water each day.
  • Choose complex carbs – such as beans, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains – over simple carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice, and white pasta.
  • Monitor your weight with your healthcare provider to make sure you’re on track.

For more tips, read our article on how to avoid gaining too much weight during pregnancy.advertisement | page continues below

Weight loss during pregnancy: Warning signs

Losing weight in the second or third trimester can signal a problem. In some cases, weight loss can be harmless (a result of water loss after temporary retention, for example), but it’s important to let your provider know.

They’ll assess your diet and activity habits and ask questions about symptoms, such as nausea, heartburnbloating, and constipation, all of which can understandably discourage expecting moms from eating. Your provider may also want to screen you for depression or fetal growth restriction.

Also, tell your provider immediately if you have suddenly have a dramatic weight loss, such as five pounds in a week.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *