About 7 million of American women get affected by eating disorders, especially during their pregnancy. Namely, women in this part of their lives get quite occupied with their personal appearance, feeling that the pregnancy has decreased their aesthetic appeal. However, developing an eating disorder during pregnancy is a serious condition which needs to be dealt with as soon as possible since it might affect the health of the fetus as well.
Most Common Eating Disorders
Most people suffer from either bulimia or anorexia, once they are diagnosed with an eating disorder. The former manifests through overeating and getting rid of the eaten food through vomiting or other means, while the later stands for an eating disorder involving starving yourself in order to match an abnormal self-image. Both of these eating disorders affect a person's health negatively, and may have catastrophic impacts on pregnant women and the children they are carrying.
Eating Disorders, Fertility and Overall Health
Anorexia decreases a person's chance of conceiving significantly. Anorexic females usually suffer from missed periods while about 50% of bulimic women experience irregularities in their menstrual cycles too.
Basically, reduced calorie intake, combined with excessive physical exercises and mental stress, give rise to numerous health issues which can jeopardize pregnancy.
Eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia may lead to premature labor, low birth weight of the fetus or even death of the newborn. Moreover, women who suffer from eating disorders usually need a cesarean delivery. The growth of the fetus may be inhibited by an eating disorder. Additionally, respiratory issues, gestational diabetes, numerous labor complications, miscarriage, depression and preeclampsia all can possibly affect either a future mother with an eating disorder or the fetus.
Bulimia often results in excessive body weight, potentially suffering from high blood pressure. Generally, women with eating disorders are more prone to postpartum depression and issues regarding breastfeeding.
Medications that women with bulimia may be taking can potentially affect the health of the fetus they are carrying.
Means of Staying Healthy During Pregnancy
First and foremost, you should achieve and maintain a healthy weight since this is an optimal factor both for you and your child. Do not succumb to bulimic purging. Also, seek medical assistance as soon as you notice that you have an eating disorder. Both a nutritionist and a doctor may help you before, during and after your pregnancy.