As soon as you get that positive pregnancy test, chances are the jokes about your expanding waistline start right away. Even when you're still weeks away from showing, friends and family are more than happy to remind you that weight gain is a pending reality. But you may wonder about the opposite side of this reality. Is it safe to lose weight during pregnancy, or should the scale only move on to greater numbers?
Like many other factors, your individual results with weight gain or loss will depend on your own health conditions, pregnancy starting weight, and trimester. In other words, your mileage may vary. So should you worry if the scale drops a little during the early stages of pregnancy? Probably not. According to Baby Center, it is fairly common for women to experience weight loss in the first trimester due to the nausea and diminished appetite associated with morning sickness. As long as the weight loss doesn't alarm your doctor or other health care professionals, you are probably fine.
What about intentionally trying to lose weight during your pregnancy? Well, this is a more controversial topic, as you might imagine. According to WebMD, women who are obese and have gestational diabetes may benefit their health — and their baby's — by losing weight during pregnancy. As further explained in WebMD, a study by Raul Artal, MD, found that, among his sample of 96 obese pregnant women with diabetes, those who maintained or even lost weight during pregnancy experienced fewer complications than their peers.
However, not all medical professionals agree with this assessment. For instance, there is a concern that if your body enters the state of ketosis, then this may be harmful to your developing fetus, as noted in Fit Pregnancy. Ketosis, in which your body burns fat instead of carbohydrates from food, as explained in WebMD, is the goal of some popular low-carb and ketogenic diets. In addition, most women are advised to gain weight during pregnancy, although those amounts have been recently revised. According to the American Pregnancy Association, for instance, women who are underweight may need to gain 28 to 40 pounds, whereas women who are overweight may only need to gain 15 to 20 pounds during pregnancy.
If all of this information is making your head spin, then call up your doctor for any advice about your weight loss (or gain) goals. There are so many factors that make up your personal needs during pregnancy, that getting individualized, professional advice cannot be substituted. And no matter what way the scale tips during your pregnancy, hopefully you will go on to deliver a newborn whose preciousness is off the scale entirely.