Eating Disorders Linked To Fertility Problems And Surprise Pregnancies

A new study, published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology shows that eating disorders are associated with...
A new study, published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology shows that eating disorders are associated with fertility problems, unplanned pregnancies and negative attitudes to pregnancy. The research, hailing from King’s College London and UCL, examines 11,088 women from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). Of the women, about 1.5% had anorexia at some point in their life, 1.8% had bulimia and an additional 0.7% had suffered from both conditions. Results showed that women with a history of eating disorders took longer to conceive than women without eating disorders. Additionally, women with anorexia and bulimia were more than twice as likely have received treatment or help to conceive their current pregnancy. Oddly, women with anorexia were more likely to say that their pregnancy was unintentional, or a surprise pregnancy, plus women in this group were much more likely to say that ‘motherhood means personal sacrifice.’ Lead author, Abigail Easter, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, said:
This research highlights that there are risks to fertility associated with eating disorders. However, the high rates of unplanned pregnancies in women with a history of anorexia suggest that women may be underestimating their chances of conceiving. Pregnancy can be a difficult time for women with eating disorders and this is the first time feelings about pregnancy have been looked at amongst this group of women."
Obviously this is important research because it reminds care providers about this part of the population. Especially since, as Dr Nadia Micali, Institute of Child Health, UCL and lead investigator, says, "Health professionals are often unaware of the effects of eating disorders on pregnancy and fertility. Women with a history of anorexia for example are more likely to have unplanned pregnancies. This has now been replicated in three large studies and has important repercussions on the level of antenatal and postnatal care they will need.” If you're a women with an eating disorder, and you're planning a pregnancy, or would like to plan a pregnancy in the future, it's best to seek treatment for your eating disorder symptoms prior to conception - because an eating disorder can complicate a pregnancy. Not to mention, eating disorders cause health problems for you. You want to be a healthy mama. Right? If you need help with an eating disorder check out the following resources:
    + Easter A, Treasure J, Micali N. Fertility and prenatal attitudes towards pregnancy in women with eating disorders: results from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children.

    Tags: am i pregnant? anorexia bulimia eating disorders


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