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Tips for underweight pregnant women

July 3, 2024

You may be aware that weight gain is crucial during pregnancy. It is an evident sign of your baby's growth inside the womb. If you are an underweight pregnant woman, you may need to put on some extra weight to sail through your pregnancy smoothly. Being underweight during pregnancy may increase the chance of risk and complications during pregnancy for both the mother and the baby. Though it is not a serious issue as long as you get the essential nutrients for your baby’s development, underweight pregnancy should be addressed. A healthcare provider and a certified dietician can help you achieve optimal weight gain during pregnancy. Here are some tips to manage underweight pregnancy. Before diving into the tips, you must understand the reasons why you are underweight during pregnancy and also the importance of gaining the required weight.

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Why Is Weight Gain Important During Pregnancy?

Weight gain during pregnancy is important for the healthy growth of your baby. Your body needs additional energy to support your pregnancy, so weight gain is important during pregnancy. Weight gain also influences milk production in pregnant women.

Do you know that the extra weight you put on during pregnancy is distributed to several body parts? Your placenta, amniotic fluid, breast tissue, uterus, maternal blood volume, maternal fat, and fluids gain additional pounds during pregnancy. Make sure you gain a few pounds during pregnancy to avoid underweight pregnancy risks. The additional weight gained during pregnancy will be shed during the postpartum period

The optimal weight gain during pregnancy depends on your pre-pregnancy weight and body mass index. If your pre-pregnancy BMI is less than 18.5, then you are underweight, and you must gain more weight during your pregnancy than others with normal BMI. Underweight pregnancy weight gain is nearly 11 to 18 kgs. This ensures you deliver your baby safe and sound.

Reasons You Are Underweight During Pregnancy

Many factors contribute to being underweight during pregnancy. Here are some prominent reasons:

  • Poor pre-pregnancy diet
  • Genetical conditions
  • Malnutrition
  • Anemia
  • Eating disorders
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Loss of appetite due to stress
  • Morning sickness
  • Intense exercise
  • Improper dieting
  • Eating unbalanced diet

Ways To Manage Underweight Pregnancy

Timely intervention is needed when you do not gain adequate weight during pregnancy. Consult your gynecologist to assess your underlying medical condition. Your doctor will perform certain medical tests to know if you suffer from eating disorders, thyroid disorders, gastrointestinal problems or other medical issues that result in no weight gain during pregnancy. Women who are underweight during pregnancy are referred for additional scans to know the growth and development of the baby. If you find it challenging to put on weight during pregnancy, consult a certified dietitian who can help you gain weight during pregnancy. A dietitian can help you by planning the right food to be taken to gain weight during pregnancy.

Things To Do To Achieve Your Pregnancy Weight Goals

You must know your dietary requirements for healthy weight gain during pregnancy. Your doctor or midwife will tell you your target weight gain during pregnancy. Follow the below for healthy weight gain during pregnancy:

  • Intake your supplements and prenatal regularly. Your growing baby needs iron, calcium, and folate for the growth of your baby. This ensures that you receive the nutrients for the growing baby.
  • This includes foods rich in nutrients and vitamins, such as vegetables, fruits, milk, fish, eggs, whole grains, and cereals.
  • Never skip your breakfast. Make sure you eat a healthy breakfast.
  • If you suffer from nausea or morning sickness, take small meals frequently
  • Never skip your meals.
  • Replace your snacks with nutrient-rich, high-calorie snacks like nuts, crackers, and smoothies.
  • Include food rich in fat content, like nuts and seeds, in your daily diet.
  • Cook your food with extra fat like ghee, oil, and butter.
  • Track your calorie intake. During the first trimester, make sure your intake is 400 calories per day. Your calorie intake must increase considerably in the second and third trimesters.
  • Manage anxiety.
  • Take care of your mental health
  • Limit the intake of sweets and sugar
  • Avoid unhealthy food like processed and packaged food.
  • Limit beverages as they can affect your appetite.
  • Never start your meals with salads. Eat your main course and then have your salad.
  • Eat a calorie-packed food or nutrient-dense snack after your exercise routine.

Effects and Risks Of Underweight Pregnancy

Some underweight pregnant women may not be aware of their condition. Underweight pregnant women feel exhausted during pregnancy. Thus, one of the evident underweight pregnancy symptoms is fatigue. Underweight pregnant women find it challenging to carry out their regular work. Here are other risks of underweight pregnancy.

  • Low weight gain in the first trimester can badly affect the growing baby's nutritional requirements.
  • There are greater chances of pre-term birth
  • Low birth weight is also a common risk of underweight pregnancy
  • Restricted growth of your baby
  • Reduced supply of milk
  • Trouble in breastfeeding
  • Fatigue
  • Risk of heart disease in baby after birth
  • Chances of diabetes, high blood pressure for the baby
  • They may suffer from digestive problems
  • Babies may miss their developmental milestones

Maintaining the required weight during pregnancy is vital, ensure that you are not underweight or overweight. Manage your weight gain right so that you enjoy a healthy and safe pregnancy.

Also Read: 10 Helpful Tips for Breastfeeding after returning to work


1. How do you manage underweight during pregnancy?

Being underweight during pregnancy must be addressed as it can result in complications. Here are ways to manage the condition:

● Get treated for any underlying medical condition.

● Try to increase the frequency of meals

● Include foods rich in proteins,

● Eat foods high in calories

● Intake supplements to balance vitamin deficiencies.

2. What should I feed my underweight unborn baby?

When you are aware that your baby inside your womb is underweight, then you must eat a nutritious and healthy diet. Ensure you intake food rich in calories and fats, which aids in gaining weight for your unborn baby.

3. How can a pregnant woman reduce her baby weight?

It is possible to reduce your baby's weight during pregnancy safely. Here are the things to be done to reduce your baby's weight

● Eat a balanced and nutritious diet

● Stay hydrated

● Be mindful of your cravings

● Go for Walking

● Try including complex carbohydrates in your diet

4. How can I gain weight during pregnancy?

● Be mindful of what you eat.

● Eat a balanced and healthy diet

● Stay Active

● Cut off sugar and processed foods

● Replace junk with healthy snacks like nuts, granola, crackers, etc.

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