That’s a major accomplishment — it takes a lot of stamina, courage, and willpower to fight (and conquer!) an eating disorder, and you’ve won a big battle. But the even better news is that your prognosis for pregnancy is promising, even if it seems to be taking its sweet time to happen. Eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia affect a large majority of women and tend to peak during the child bearing years when women are most conscious about their appearance.
Eating disorders can have several harmful effects on the woman’s body, noticeably on the woman’s fertility by affecting her menstrual cycles and creating hormonal disturbances. While anorexia involves extreme starvation, bulimia is characterized by excessive eating and purging with the use of laxatives.
Causes of Eating Disorders During Pregnancy
Typically, women who have eating disorders during pregnancy, such as anorexia or bulimia, struggled with this condition prior to conceiving. For some women, the changes and symptoms associated with pregnancy may exacerbate the eating disorder, often complicating the pregnancy and jeopardizing the health of mother and baby. For other women, pregnancy may encourage an improvement or remission in their eating disorder, as the mother seeks to improve the outcome for herself and baby. Regardless, because of the crucial needs for both mother and the developing baby, professional treatment should be sought to ensure an eating disorder is not interfering with normal growth and progression of pregnancy.
Sign and Symptom Of Eating Disorders
- Little to no weight gain or weight loss throughout the pregnancy
- Restriction of major food groups
- Feeling fearful of becoming overweight
- Engaging in extreme forms of exercise to burn calories
- Inducing vomiting to get rid of food eaten
- Chronic fatigue
- Dizziness, headaches, blacking-out
- Skipping or avoiding meals
- Difficulty concentrating
- Social avoidance of family or friends
- Increased depression or anxiety
Eating Disorders On Pregnancy
Women should be mindful of certain effects that eating disorders have on pregnant women. Women who struggle with bulimia often gain weight and lose weight rapidly. This puts them at a risk of developing hypertension, preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.They are more likely to have postpartum depression and problems in breast-feeding due to the malnutrition in the body.
The eating disorders harm the health of the foetus by causing birth defects, congenital deformities, low birth weight, cleft palate and a host of pregnancy complications like pre-term labour and miscarriage. Severe malnourishment can deplete the foetus of vital nutrients and lead to severe physical and mental retardation.
Since anorexics have a problem in eating meals, taking small meals very 2-3 hours will help them cope better with their disorder especially when they get pregnant. This will also ensure that the foetus has all the vital nutrients needed to grow and flourish.
You will need to boost your immunity and get back your energy in order to conceive. This involves taking the vital prenatal vitamins, which are needed to conceive. This will also prevent the chances of birth defects occurring in the foetus.
A Team Of Specialists
At all times in the pregnancy you will need a team of doctors, counsellors and specialists who can help to monitor your condition and encourage you so that you don’t go back to the starvation diets. You will also need a lactation consultant who can help you with breast feeding so that the baby gets all the vital nutrients in the first six months of his/her life.
Achieving A Healthy Weight Gain
Make sure you achieve a healthy weight gain. This will require plenty of effort from your side. You will need to go in for intense counselling and therapy sessions to help you achieve the ideal weight. Once the ideal weight has been achieved, you will need to see a doctor who can tell you the best way to conceive.