EATING DISORDERS & PREGNANCY | WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
If you have an eating disorder, you are not alone. It is estimated that, in the United Kingdom alone, 7 out of 100 pregnant women are struggling with an eating disorder of some kind. Most often we think of restricted eating when thinking about eating disorders. However, one in 12 women report feeling out of control while binge eating, two or more times, in a week.
Women struggling with binge eating disorder may especially be under-diagnosed, as the symptoms are harder to spot. Whether you are experiencing a restricted diet or uncontrolled eating, it is essential to know the risks to better your chances of a healthy delivery, and ongoing health for you and your baby.
Eating disorders are serious and put the health of you and your baby at risk. Women who have an eating disorder and are pregnant may experience increased body image problems, severe postpartum depression, breathing difficulties, increased risk of cesarean birth, and the possibility of miscarriage.
How Will My Eating Disorder Affect Me During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, it is natural and healthy to put on weight. This can be a scary fact for women with an eating disorder; however, the weight from increased food intake is how a developing baby gains the necessary nutrients to grow to full term. Without these nutrients, a baby may be born with low birth weight, causing complications throughout their life. A lack of nutrients may cause premature labour resulting in the need for long-term, specialised care for your new-born baby.
How Will Pregnancy Affect My Eating Disorder After Birth?
Believe it or not, many women have an easier time coping with their eating disorder during pregnancy because their baby gives them the motivation to seek help. Following pregnancy, women may be hyper-focused on losing their excess weight. Seeking help throughout pregnancy will increase the likelihood of continued treatment postpartum, allowing a healthy and happy mum, to raise a healthy and happy baby.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder, and you are thinking about having a baby, or you are currently pregnant, our multidisciplinary team at WeightMatters is here to help you. We offer specialised care plans, combining psychotherapy with healthy nutrition, to support the transition of your mind, body and eating towards a successful pregnancy.
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