Second Trimester Weight Loss

Woman vomiting into the toilet bowl
Morning sickness is the biggest cause of weight loss during pregnancy, but it generally occurs in the first trimester. (Image: LarsZahnerPhotography/iStock/Getty Images)

By the second trimester of your pregnancy, the worst of your morning sickness should be behind you, if you experienced it at all, according to the website SheKnows Baby & Pregnancy. In your second trimester, you should be gaining the most weight of your entire pregnancy. The American Pregnancy Association says that it is not a cause for alarm if your weight gain isn’t perfectly consistent week to week, but you should contact your doctor immediately if you begin markedly losing weight after your first trimester.

Explanations

SheKnows Baby & Pregnancy indicates that sometimes a sudden drop in fluid retention can cause weight loss in your second trimester. If you were retaining water and corrected the salt intake in your diet or otherwise took measures to fix the situation, you might drop a few pounds when the water weight flushes out. If you were overweight at the time you conceived, you are not expected to gain as much in your second trimester as a woman who started her pregnancy at a healthy weight. But the explanation for a second trimester weight loss could be more serious. The American Pregnancy Association reports that a sudden weight change later on in pregnancy can signal preeclampsia, or pregnancy-induced hypertension. Other causes can include a lack of amniotic fluid or gestational diabetes, both of which are serious.

Guidelines

The American Pregnancy Association advises that you should be gaining 1 to 2 lbs. a week during your second trimester, unless you were overweight to start with. Then a 1 lb. per week gain in the last six months of your pregnancy is acceptable.

Research

The Journal of Nutrition reports on a study of almost 11,000 women who experienced low weight gain during their pregnancies. The study linked low weight gain by a mother in either her second or third trimester to IUGR, or intrauterine growth retardation, in her baby. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates that the weight a mother gains in her first and second trimesters directly correlates to the growth of her baby, though weight gain in the first trimester has a stronger impact on a newborn’s size.

Dangers

Weight gain in your second trimester is very important, so if your weight loss is intentional, you should stop trying to lose immediately. The weight you gain is crucial to your baby’s development. It also supplies the fat stores necessary for breastfeeding after you give birth. If you don’t gain sufficient weight, it can result in premature labor and it can affect your baby’s growth. If you gain less than 20 lbs. through the entire term of your pregnancy, you might give birth to a baby small for her gestational age because she has been undernourished.

Recommendations

If your weight gain has stalled and your physician has ruled out any complication that could be the cause for it, the American Pregnancy Association recommends alterations to your diet. If you routinely skip breakfast, start eating a piece of toast with cheese or peanut butter to give you a protein boost. Snack a little on healthy foods that contain protein, minerals and calcium instead of holding out for three regular meals a day. Juices high in vitamin C or beta carotene are also healthy additions to your diet during pregnancy that won’t result in unnecessary pounds that you’ll have to fight to take off later.

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