Anorexia affects primarily women as statistics show that ninety five percent of anorexics are women. The average age range for anorexia also falls during the childhood bearing years and becoming pregnant while having an eating disorder can be detrimental to both mother and child. Eating disorders also affect fertility- especially anorexia- as women who have eating disorders often times have irregular menstrual cycles or none at all.
The Dangers Associated with Anorexia during Pregnancy
There are numerous detrimental effects primarily due to malnutrition which an eating disorder such as anorexia can cause during pregnancy. These include effects to the fetus such as, delayed fetal growth, premature birth, low birth weight, and even stillbirth. Anorexia can also cause complications during labor and the risk for having to undergo a cesarean birth is much higher.
Respiratory problems and gestational diabetes are also more common in pregnant women with an eating disorder. The chances are also higher for postpartum depression as well as problems with breastfeeding. Taking laxatives or diuretics during pregnancy can also cause harmful effects to the fetus as they are not able to receive the necessary nutrition due to the fact that these take away the important fluids and nutrients which the fetus needs to grow.
Precautions you should take When Becoming Pregnant with an Eating Disorder
It is essential for your overall health as well as the health of your baby that as soon as you discover you are pregnant to schedule an appointment for prenatal care and inform your doctor right away that you have an eating disorder.
Schedule regular group therapy and individual counseling sessions as well as guidance from a nutritionist who can help you maintain your weight. It is also essential that after giving birth you continue maintaining your nutritional health as well as treatment for your disorder as bringing a new baby into the world can bring you great joy but can also be a very stressful time which can intensify the symptoms of anorexia.