Not Gaining Enough Weight During Pregnancy – Causes and Tips to Deal With it

Not Gaining Enough Weight During Pregnancy - Causes and Tips to Deal With it

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Pregnancy is an experience to cherish for a lifetime. You have butterflies in your tummy,  however, it comes to a speedy halt with premature Braxton Hicks contractions and untimely delivery early on. Not gaining enough weight not only will leave you fatigued but also affect the development of your baby from the second trimester onward.

If you haven’t been packing on enough pounds and have been failing in weight gains, we’ve got you covered in this post.

How Much Weight Should You Gain

Packing on 9 to 13 kgs is ideal for women whose BMI (Body Mass Index) falls in the healthy range. Find out whether you’re in the “normal weight” range by using a BMI calculator. If your BMI is too high, you’ll actually need to shed a few pounds to avoid complications and preterm labour during a pregnancy. According to the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine in 2009, here’s a chart that shows the ideal weight gain recommendations for mothers who are pregnant or planning to be.

Pre-pregnancy BMI Target weight gain for single pregnancy in Kgs Target weight gain for multiples in Kgs
< 18.5 12 – 18
18.5 – 24.9 11 – 15 16-24
25 – 29.9 6 – 11 14 – 22
30 > 4-9 11-19

When Will You Start Gaining Weight

Weight gain will depend on several factors – genetics, metabolism, your environment, activity level, and calories in and out. If you’re at a healthy starting weight, expect to gain about 3 kgs during the first trimester of pregnancy and 500gms for every week during the remainder of your pregnancy weeks. Doctors recommend intaking 340 extra calories a day during the second trimester and 450 extra calories every day during the third trimester of pregnancy

Pregnant woman with pregnancy calculator

Alternatively, you can use a pregnancy calculator to find out how much weight you need to gain based on your height and pre-pregnancy weight.

What if You are Not Gaining Enough Weight?

Your foetus is not usually affected during the first trimester since the seed is small and so is the demand for nutrient supply. Things go in full swing from the second trimester and this is where it gets dangerous if you don’t gain enough weight. Your baby doesn’t get enough nutrients for growth and is adversely affected in the process of you not gaining weight. Additionally, if you don’t gain enough weight, your baby will need to be kept under hospice care longer and be of low birth-weight, thus experiencing low blood sugar levels and difficulty in feeding.

Reasons for Insufficient Weight Gain

The main reasons for low weight gain or insufficient weight gain during pregnancy are:

  • If your diet is lacking in nutrient-dense foods, healthy fats, and high-calorie proteins, you will experience insufficient weight gain. The solution? Eat healthy, ingest more calories
  • Low-weight gain during pregnancy is also a cause of Intrauterine growth retardation in women (IUGR)
  • Chromosomal Abnormalities in the baby
  • Medical conditions such as pre-eclampsia which interferes with weight gain and supplying oxygen and nutrients to the baby from the placenta
  • Emotional problems and stress

How to Increase Weight in Pregnancy?

If you are having trouble gaining weight during pregnancy, you’re in for a treat! Here’s how you can increase your weight during pregnancy:

  1. Five to Six Small Meals a Day

Eating five to six small meals a day regulates your metabolism and promotes healthy weight gain. Be sure to eat healthy fats, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and lots of plant-rich protein and organic lean meats for best results.

Five to Six Meals a Day

Focus on calorie-dense healthy foods and keep salads for last.

  1. Maintain a Healthy BMI

By staying within a healthy weight range before pregnancy, you maximize your chances of success for sufficient weight gain during the trimesters of your pregnancy. Plus, you don’t have to worry about losing weight or packing on kilos beyond the recommended limits.

  1. Avoid Junk Foods

Processed foods interfere with your body’s ability to gain weight and put a hamper on metabolism regulation.

Avoid Junk Food

Eat healthy, be happy, and watch those pounds rise steadily. Your baby’s well-being depends on the quality of the calories you take in and not just the quantity.

  1. Eat Healthy Fats

We’ve talked about eating a healthy diet but for productive weight gain, incorporate healthy fats such as nuts, fatty fish, avocados, and olive oil.

  1. Juice Up

Up your juice intake since liquid calories count. Orange juice, carrot juice, papaya nectar, and others, are great choices! The magic lies in juices high in Vitamin C and carotene content.

  1. Consult a Nutritionist or a Dietician

Your gynaecologist may have recommendations but consult the food and nutrition expert just to be safe.

Pregnant woman consulting nutrition expert

  1.  Light Exercises

Exercise regulates metabolism and blood sugar levels. This promotes steady weight gain in the long run as well. Don’t be hyperactive or sedentary, be healthy. Exercising also prevents pre-eclampsia.

  1. Don’t Skip Meals

Skipping meals interferes with the weight gain process and is a huge no-no during pregnancy. Keep that in mind. For your diet, a balance

Whether you’re planning to become pregnant or are expecting a delivery, putting on those pounds in a healthy way will not only help you and your body but also your baby. Eat healthy, exercise regularly, and stay happy and we’re sure you’ll pack on those pounds safely without any worries!

Also Read: 

Losing Weight during Pregnancy
Weight Gain in Pregnancy: How much is Good?
Weight Gain during Second Pregnancy