After months of watching the number on the scale rise, some pregnant women are surprised to find that they actually lose weight in the last trimester rather than continue to gain. This can be due to a combination of factors and is rarely cause for concern but, like any unexpected changes during pregnancy, you should discuss this weight loss with your doctor.
Many pregnant women find that their eating habits change during the third trimester. As the fetus grows larger, she begins pressing on her mother's stomach; this can cause you to lose your appetite or feel full after eating only a small amount. If you begin taking in significantly fewer calories, this can result in weight loss. Try eating small meals and snacks throughout the day to make sure your baby is getting the nourishment she needs.
As the end of pregnancy nears, your body readies itself for labor by getting rid of some of the extra fluid it's been holding onto for the last few months. Sweating, loose bowel movements and increased urination are all common in the final weeks of pregnancy, the What to Expect website reports, and can add up to several pounds of weight lost. You may also be burning more calories than before if you're busy preparing your home and your life for your baby's impending arrival.
With your frequent trips to the doctor's office during the last trimester, your doctor should be aware of any weight loss — but don't hesitate to ask her about it if she doesn't bring it up. Your doctor is the best judge of what's normal and what's not, and she'll take individual factors into account when evaluating weight changes. If your weight loss is due to your lack of appetite, she can also offer tips for taking in more calories without any discomfort.
Treating your body right during the final trimester of pregnancy may help prevent unnecessary weight loss; being at your healthiest and most rested when you deliver can also ease the inevitable strain of those early postpartum weeks. Eat a variety of whole grains, produce, lean protein and dairy products, and try snacking frequently if you find your belly fills up quickly; sip on water throughout the day; nap or lie down to rest as often as you need to; and don't hesitate to ask your spouse, family and friends for help with chores or nursery preparation.
As you've probably gotten used to watching your weight creep up, it can be both alarming and exciting to see the number on the scale dropping. But while some women naturally lose a few pounds in the third trimester, it should never be your goal. As long as your baby is inside you, he's 100-percent reliant on you for nourishment — so try to keep up your usual diet and don't try to jump-start weight loss until you've recovered from delivery.