Anorexia During Pregnancy: How Does This Affects a Mother and her Baby?
Babies born from mothers with an eating disorder may have nutritional deficiencies which may affect their physical and cognitive development as they grow.
The old saying that you need to eat for 2 during pregnancy takes new meanings when it comes to a mother with anorexia. A pregnant woman which restrict her calories severely, trains intensively or uses laxatives or diet pills during pregnancy may endanger both her and her baby`s health. Malnutrition and dehydration for expecting mothers can lead to serious problems.
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What Is Anorexia?
Anorexia is an eating disorder that has physical and emotional implications of those who fear, in a pathological way, of excess pounds and, consequently, are starving. Therefore, anorexic people become obsessed of their body image and become thin and weak. They form a negative obsession towards the concept of “food.”
The obsession towards food and weight leads to strange diet rituals or the refusal of eating in front of other people. It`s not unusual as anorexic people to prepare rich meals for their family and friends, while they won`t be attending those meals.
How Does This Affects a Mother and her Baby?
Restricting food and fluids during pregnancy can lead to:
- Premature birth;
- Loss of pregnancy;
- Low birth weight;
- Complications during pregnancy or at birth;
- Preeclampsia (high blood pressure in pregnant women);
- Severe malnutrition of the newborn.
When you aren`t eating enough foods with a high nutritional content during pregnancy, you restrict vitamins and minerals towards your baby of which he needs to develop healthy nerves, bones and organs. Babies born from mothers with eating disorders have an increased risk of death from birth, birth defects or respiratory issues. Laxatives, losing weight pills stimulants illegally used during pregnancy can lead to abnormalities in the fetal development. After the baby is born, anorexia can interfere with breastfeeding. The sooner you get help through a rehabilitation program, the greater are the chances of having a healthy pregnancy.
Treatment for Anorexia during Pregnancy
Pregnancy affects women who suffer from anorexia in a variety of ways. Some mothers adopt healthy food habits during pregnancy, but they return at their anorexic habits after birth. Others fear to give up their calorie restriction when they are pregnant.
No matter where you situate yourself, you can benefit of treatment which can induce a healthy food behavior both during pregnancy and after birth.
When you are pregnant, it`s more important to be carefully monitored in a safe environment in which you`ll receive the necessary support that can protect you and your child from the effect of anorexia in these critical moments.
Prepare Yourself for Pregnancy
Anorexia brings special tests for young mothers who want to become mothers. Because anorexia leads many times to irregular menstrual cycles or even their absence, it may be very difficult for these women to become pregnant. If you are planning to conceive any time soon, you can do the following steps to prepare yourself for a healthy pregnancy.
- Talk to a specialist in nutrition about how you can reach to a healthy weight.
- Consult a specialist in lactation and obstetrician regarding your health when you are trying to become pregnant.
- Follow the nutritionist`s recommendations and take prenatal vitamins.
- Build a circle of close friends, family members and therapists to who can reach in case you are tempted to return to your dangerous habits.
There`s no doubt about it that a pregnancy should be marked by joy and hope. But if you suffer of anorexia, extra pounds and physical changes associated with pregnancy can be terrifying. There`s help for pregnant women who want to recover from this problem. You should turn to specialists who are willing to help without judging you if you want to ensure the optimal conditions for a healthy pregnancy and birth. This is extremely important to have the confidence you need in your strengths of passing over your anorexic problems for the sake of your baby.