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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Eating Disorders >>  Pregnancy and Eating Disorders

Pregnancy and Eating Disorders

Pregnancy and eating disorders might prove life threatening for the child. Increased risk of complications and miscarriages are seen in the case of anorexic or bulimic individuals. Mother’s death or defective infants are also possible. Conception is difficult in the case of individuals suffering from menstrual irregularities, which is a common symptom of women with anorexia, bulimia or compulsive eating. Limiting food intake is a characteristic feature of anorexic and this deprives the baby of all nourishments.

Low birth weight and premature birth is associated with pregnant women with prior eating disorders. Cerebral palsy and low I.Q is seen in such children. The risk of the baby to thrive is reduced by the first year. Still birth and caesarean delivery is possible. Eating disorders in pregnant women puts a lot of stress on the baby and the mother. Lack of supplementation of calcium during pregnancy depletes the mother of her calcium stores. Kidney, heart and liver problems are common among mother with eating disorders.

Physical and emotional health of the pregnant mother is disturbed. Depression is an offspring of eating disorder. Newborn care is reduced by mothers, suffering from postpartum depression. The stress of managing an infant is high. Treatment of the eating disorder, prior to conception is recommended, thereby protecting the child to-be-born. Providing a complete knowledge to the gynecologist, regarding the eating disorder, is helpful in further care. Pregnancy demands 300 additional calories and 60 grams of protein. Calcium recommendation is one gram per day and is essential for the fetus and the mother. 30 mg of iron per day is recommended during pregnancy, owing to the raise in the blood volume. Folic acid is essential for the formation of the major organs of the fetus and the prevention of neural tube defects in infants.

Birth defects are seen in infants, with mothers suffering from anorexia, bulimia or compulsive eating. The duration of the disorder affects the probability of conception. Pregnant women with eating disorders suffer from dehydration, deficiencies in vitamins, imbalance in electrolytes and malnutrition, thereby proving lethal to the growing infant. Cleft palate or cleft lips are common birth anomalies. Growth of the fetus is deferred. Respiratory suffocation and death is possible. Excessive use of laxatives by anorexics is harmful to the baby. They also deprive the infant of fluids and other essential nutrients, thereby leading to abnormalities in birth. Bulimics suffer from weight gain, increasing the risk of high blood pressure.
A pre-conception guidance from a gynecologist is necessary. Regular prenatal check-ups prove helpful. Healthy balance of weight is essential, during pregnancy. Normal weight gain helps and reduces the probability of complications. Counseling is essential to overcome depression. Both physical and emotional health is enhanced. A nutritionist’s help is beneficial in planning healthy diet plans. Seek the help of your friends and peers, especially after child birth. Guidance from a lactation consultant is necessary for breast feeding.
Submitted on January 16, 2014