Risks of Eating Disorder During Pregnancy

by Michael Russell - Date: 2007-04-29 - Word Count: 514 Share This!

Any eating disorder is extremely dangerous for the body. Anyone suffering from an eating disorder is at risk for malnutrition, kidney failure, heart attack and even death among many other problems. During pregnancy, a fetus must receive proper nutrients to grow - that an eating disorder will inhibit.

Pregnancy is an extreme stress on the body. It can drain energy and be emotionally overwhelming. When a woman is pregnant it is of the utmost importance that she eats a well balanced diet, stay hydrated and get plenty of exercise. Pre-natal vitamins are a great benefit. Usually, a woman with an eating disorder is not properly nourished.

Eating disorders make women more prone to miscarriage, complications throughout the pregnancy and even birth defects that are so severe they could result in the baby's - or even the mother's - death. If a woman has suffered from anorexia, bulimia, or compulsive overeating for too long, it could even diminish her chances of ever becoming pregnant.

More serious risks to the mother, aside from the problems from the eating disorder alone, are an increased risk of gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia (also known as toxemia), breech birth and spontaneous abortion.

If a woman with an eating disorder does carry her pregnancy full term, the baby is at very high risk of delayed fetal growth, low birth weight, fetal abnormality, death within one month of birth and serious birth defects that may not even be noted until much later.

After the birth, it is crucial to both mother and baby that the treatment for the eating disorder continues. A healthy, well-balanced diet keeps the mother's strength up, fights off postpartum depression and increases the ability for the mother to produce viable breast milk. Remember, breast milk is the infant's only way to receive nutrition and any deficiencies are passed from mother to baby.

For any woman fighting an eating disorder, it is extremely difficult. She is already undergoing high amounts of emotional, mental and physical stress. Adding a pregnancy or baby to the mix could heighten this stress and hinder; or even halt recovery. Having a baby is a big step; make sure you are well into recovery and ready. Remember, a baby will not just bring you additional joy and laughter in your life, but they also bring a lot of responsibilities and duties. Do not get pregnant just because you need to be loved by someone. A baby will need your care and attention and he/she will need you to be strong and healthy.

So if you think that you are ready to get pregnant, or if you are pregnant, you should inform your doctor as soon as possible. Follow closely all the instructions from your doctor to increase nutrition requirements for a healthy pregnancy. This will increase the chance that your baby will be born healthy. You should also seek a counselor to help you deal with your fears and worries as you proceed with your pregnancy. Enroll in childbirth and child development classes. This will give you additional information that can make you feel comfortable throughout your pregnancy and prepare you to a raise healthy child.

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