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Have you ever heard of the term “Pregorexia”? It is a combination of the words “pregnancy” and “anorexia” and it describes women who are afraid of gaining weight during their pregnancy and who don’t adequately nourish themselves and their developing baby. While it is not an actual medical diagnosis, it does describe some very concerning behavior.
In this blog, we will go over the different eating disorders and how they affect the pregnancy.
During pregnancy, different women gain different amounts of weight, but not gaining enough weight can be dangerous and increases the risk of miscarriage and birth complications. If you restrict your food intake, your baby will not get enough nutrients to develop.
In fact, anorexia and other eating disorders can be very dangerous during pregnancy for both the mother and the baby.
Binge eating disorder (BED) is when you eat excessive amounts of food, which leads to high excess weight during pregnancy and a high birth-weight baby. Women with BED tend to skip meals – especially breakfast – and stay without food for long hours between binges. The disorder can expose the baby to long periods without nutrients followed by sudden sugar rushes.
Bulimia (binge eating followed by self-induced vomiting, excessive exercise, or laxative use) and purging disorder (self-induced vomiting or laxative abuse without binge eating) can deprive a baby of essential nutrients. Purging can also deplete a mom-to-be’s electrolytes, which can be hazardous to both her and her baby.
Commonly, women with a history of eating disorders are most at risk of these eating disorders during pregnancy, especially first-time mothers who aren’t prepared for the changes that will happen in their bodies. Once the weight gain starts, it can trigger their disordered thoughts and lead them into a restrictive mode on food.
Eating disorders can also happen to expecting moms who have never suffered from them in the past, but who are shocked by the extra pounds and start to develop unhealthy behaviors with food.
If you have ever suffered from an eating disorder and are planning to get pregnant, talk to Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian to get the needed support so that you can take the needed steps to have a healthy pregnancy for you and your baby. She will follow you during your pregnancy so you don’t gain more than the needed weight, and after the pregnancy to lose the extra weight easily and healthily.