3 Serious Risks Of Being Underweight During Pregnancy

Underweight During Pregnancy

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Are you gaining proper weight during your pregnancy? Does your doctor check your body weight on every visit? Did he diagnose you as underweight? If you can relate to the situation, you might want to read our post.

Being underweight during pregnancy is dangerous, and can pose risks like a miscarriage. Here, we look at the risks of being underweight in pregnancy. So, how do you gain weight safely? How do you safeguard your child’s health? Get the answers to your questions here.

Risks Of Being Underweight During Pregnancy:

Women with a low body mass index are underweight and must gain weight for their pregnancy. Underweight women are at a higher risk of suffering from miscarriage during the first trimester of pregnancy. Some of the other underweight pregnancy risks include:

  1. An increased risk of preterm delivery or the infant born with a low birth weight.
  1. It also increases the possibility of pregnancy complications like obstetric surgical interventions.
  1. Your infant may suffer from postpartum hemorrhage, which can lead to a sudden death.

Weight Gain During Pregnancy:

Pregnant women typically experience an increase in 25-30 pounds body weight during their special time. If the weight gain is not proper, it can impose serious health risks on both the mother as well as her unborn baby.

pregnancy weight gain
Pounds (lb)
  Feet
  Inches
No   Yes
Pounds (lb)

Kilograms (kg)
Centimeters
NO Yes
Kilograms (kg)


During the first trimester of pregnancy, the standard weight gain should lie between 2-4 pounds. Through the entire phase of pregnancy, the weight gain should be as follows:

  • Overweight pregnant women should not gain more than 15-20 pounds.
  • Underweight women need to gain weight around 30-40 pounds.
  • Women with twins should gain healthy weight of above 40-50 pounds.

For some pregnant mommies, it is extremely difficult to gain healthy body weight during their pregnancy. It can occur due to a chronic health disorder. Some pregnant moms suffer from intense nausea or vomiting in the early stages of pregnancy. All these factors inhibit proper weight gain in women.

In all such cases, a well-balanced diet and stress-free living can help you overcome being underweight. To get professional guidance, seek help from your medical consultant. He may be able to provide you with a daily diet chart and help you get a proper idea about calorie consumption during pregnancy (1).

[ Read: Tips To Maintain Healthy Weight During Pregnancy ]

How To Prevent Being Underweight During Pregnancy?

If your medical practitioner diagnoses you as underweight, you need to adopt requisite steps to enhance healthy weight gain during pregnancy. Some of these effective tips for healthy weight gain during pregnancy include:

  • Do not skip your meals. Try to consume small meals at frequent time intervals.
  • Keep some snacks handy all the time, like nuts, dried fruits, biscuits, and raisins.
  • While eating toasted bread or crackers spread a small amount of peanut butter on them. Peanut butter is rich in calories and is a healthy option for pregnant mothers.
  • Add a spoon of butter to your homemade soups or vegetable gravy. It will not only enhance the taste but also increase your calorie intake.
  • Drink fruit juices that are rich in Vitamin C, such as orange, grapes, papaya, lemon, or carrot.
  • Avoid eating junk or oily foods. It may increase your blood cholesterol level and lead to pregnancy complexities.
  • Eat foods that are rich in good fats such as olive oil, nuts, or avocados.
  • As prescribed by your health consultant, take prenatal vitamins and other medical supplements (2).

With such effective weight-gain tips, pregnant women can stay away from being underweight during pregnancy.

Were you underweight during pregnancy? How did you gain healthy body weight? What steps did you take? Tell us your story here.

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  • Niharika

    Hi Sarah, being underweight at the start of your pregnancy, can lead to a greater risk of having a preterm birth or a small for gestational age (SGA) baby. This puts the baby at risk for a host of problems. However, gaining enough weight – and gaining consistently throughout your pregnancy – reduces this risk. Most women who start off their pregnancies underweight are advised to gain between 28 and 40 pounds – a bit more than the standard recommendation of 25 to 35 pounds. If you need help gaining the extra weight, seek out a registered dietitian. (Ask your healthcare provider for a recommendation.) However, your doctor or midwife may make a different recommendation based on your individual situation, particularly if you have a history of eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia.