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Pregnancy and Eating Disorders

Photo by Esther Wechsler on Unsplash

Proper nutrition during pregnancy is important for all women: The nutrients they consume are the only nutrients their babies receive. Lately I’ve been thinking specifically about expectant mothers with eating disorders.

The worst of it comes down to this: Women with anorexia and women with binge eating disorder are more likely to experience fetal and infant death.

It’s important to note that the loss of the fetus or infant is a far from common occurance in women with eating disorders, but the added risk is there.

Other pregnancy complications occurring more frequently for women with anorexia include lower birth weight, anemia, slow fetal growth, premature contractions, and very premature birth. Premature contractions, resuscitation of the newborn, and very low Apgar scores were associated with bulimic mothers.  As for women with binge eating disorder, they experienced a greater occurrance of hypertension and large babies.

If you’re pregnant and have a history of eating disorder, be open with your health care providers. Even if the problem is not current, the weight gain you’ll experience with pregnancy could trigger a relapse. If you have an eating disorder and are thinking about becoming pregnant, it’s important to get the disorder under control first.

If you’d like to learn more about eating disorders and pregnancy, go here.

Go here for a guide to prenatal nutrition.


Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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