Prental nutrition: Is early pregnancy weight loss dangerous?

I am 15 weeks pregnant and I haven't gained a pound. In fact, I've lost eight pounds since I learned that I was pregnant! I have been eating right and I quit smoking when I learned I was pregnant. I am very nervous that my baby is not developing properly due to my weight loss.

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Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

Typical weight gain during the first trimester is about five pounds, but many women lose or are unable to gain any weight due to nausea. Studies of women with severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy confirm that the babies do well despite maternal weight loss.

In a study published in the British Medical Journal (Feb 17, 1996) by Godfrey, "Maternal nutrition in early and late pregnancy in relation to placental and fetal growth," research demonstrated that carbohydrate and protein intake during early and late pregnancy may have specific and differing effects.

Here is an interesting excerpt from this article: "High carbohydrate intakes in early pregnancy were associated with low placental and birth weights. Although this seems paradoxical, in sheep farming it is common practice for ewes to be put on rich pasture before they are mated and then on poor pasture for a period in early pregnancy. Experimental studies in farm animals suggest that the scientific basis of this practice may lie partly in stimulation of placental growth by undernutrition in early pregnancy. Similar effects may occur in humans."

As long as you are eating a well balanced diet and getting all of food groups in appropriate quantities, you and your baby should be fine. Weight gain is only a small indication of nutrition. An ultrasound will also reveal whether growth and development are on track and should help to put your mind at ease.

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