Risks of Eating Disorders During Pregnancy

Pregnancy can have a drastic impact on a woman’s body image, especially those who have had or currently have an eating disorder.  The weight gain associated with pregnancy can cause stress and anxiety for mom, which can lead to poor or unhealthy eating habits.  While it’s completely normal to have these feelings, it’s even more important to understand the causal link between your diet and your baby’s health.

Mom’s diet and nutrition is incredibly important to the development of a baby throughout pregnancy.  Below are some risks associated with eating disorders and pregnancy.

Eating Disorders and Risks for Mom

Eating disorders can cause a list of health problems for an expectant mother.  Many women who have eating disorders, especially those with bulimia, have irregular menstrual cycles which could make it difficult to become pregnant.  For those that are pregnant with eating disorders, it can also pose a number of threats and complication to your health including:

  • Premature labor
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Labor complications
  • Postpartum depression
  • Miscarriage
  • Preeclampsia
  • Difficulty breastfeeding
  • Cardiac irregularities
  • Depression during pregnancy

Eating Disorders and Risks for Baby

If you think that eating disorders only affect your own health, think again.  Your diet is your baby’s main source of nutrition during pregnancy, and eating disorders can pose a big risk to your baby’s health and development.

  • Low Birth weight
  • Respiratory problems
  • Delayed fetal growth
  • Stillbirth or fetal death
  • Feeding difficulties

If you are pregnant and are suffering from an eating disorder, it’s important to know you are not alone.  Struggles with body image are common for pregnant women, and there are tons of places a new mom can get help.  It’s important to be open about these concerns and consult with a professional who can help you.  Your baby’s health and livelihood may depend on it.

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