Why do some women lose weight in the first trimester of pregnancy?
What happens during the first trimester?
Pregnancy is generally calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period, meaning that the first couple of weeks of "pregnancy" occur before conception. In the first trimester, the egg is fertilized, travels down to the uterus, implants there and starts to grow. The baby's placenta and amniotic sac form, its internal organs, brain and spinal cord begin to develop, and even facial features begin to form. By the end of the first trimester, the baby has gone from a two-cell creation to a ten-centimeter or four-inch baby!
In many ways, the first trimester is the most important portion of a pregnancy, and when it is over, the risk of miscarriage drops drastically. While the fetus is going through this amazing development, the pregnant mother is in the throws of first trimester pregnancy signs. Pregnancy brings challenging "side effects" throughout, but many mothers say that the first trimester was the hardest. During this time, you can expect morning sickness and vomiting, extreme fatigue, and many other symptoms.
Weight loss during early pregnancy
Think about pregnancy, and weight gain is definitely on your mind. You may have noticed abdominal bloating right around the same time you got a positive pregnancy test, and you may have thought that pregnancy weight gain had already started. Then, when you see that you are actually losing weight, it is no wonder that you are a little worried or perhaps even a lot. You may ask yourself if your weight loss is a sign that your baby is not developing properly or even whether you may be on the verge of having a miscarriage! Stop, don't panic. There are many possible causes of first trimester weight loss. They are all extremely logical, if you think about it:
- Your body is hard at work creating a baby from scratch. This takes its toll on your body.
- Your appetite may well have decreased because of pregnancy hormones.
- Even if you have an appetite like a pig, morning sickness and vomiting may result in a lower amount of calories being taken in by the body.
In most cases, slight weight loss during the first trimester is completely normal and healthy. Do call your doctor if you are worried (they can put your mind at ease!), if you are vomiting excessively and think you may have hyperemesis gravidarum (extreme morning sickness), or if you continue to lose weight even after you enter the second trimester. Do note that not every woman gains the same amount of weight during pregnancy. Our culture is very obsessed with weight, and the scales are an integral part of prenatal care that is considered very important by many.
Many people actually think they literally have to eat for two to enjoy a healthy pregnancy. Nothing could be further from the truth calories are important, but the quality of your calories is even more so. Focusing on healthy eating and a balanced diet, and looking after your body in other ways as well, will give you the assurance you need. When you know you are healthy, the scales are not necessary. Persistent lack of weight gain and actual weight loss may be a cause for concern, and in that case you will need to discuss your worries with a competent healthcare provider. Before you do so, keep in mind that genetics also play a factor here.
I gained hardly any weight during my pregnancies. The little that I did gain was all gone when I gave birth, literally (shame about the sagging skin, though!). My mother had a similar situation during her pregnancy, and her mother before that. Check in with older relatives before panicking, in other words. Have you got any questions about weight gain and weight loss during early pregnancy and beyond? Please leave a comment on this post, or go to our first trimester pregnancy forum.