Eating Disorders and Pregnancy

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Your body goes through a lot of changes during pregnancy. If you have an eating disorder or are in recovery, you may find that some of your issues around food and weight come to a head during what should be a joyous time (some women find that they’re able to cope with any weight gain or changes as they see it as a tolerable sacrifice, others plunge into a deep depression). It’s hard to say how you’ll feel until it happens.

There are a few things you can do to help you reduce the impact of your ED on your pregnancy, if you’re finding it a struggle.

  • Be HONEST with your prenatal health provider regarding past or present struggles with an eating disorder or disordered eating. They’re there to help, not judge: it’s important to find one who you feel totally comfortable with and supported by.
  • Extra appointments with your prenatal health provider may be necessary to more closely track the growth and development of your baby. If they need or want to weigh you, you can always ask to stand on the scale backwards and not be told your weight.
  • Consult a nutritionist with expertise in eating disorders before or immediately after becoming pregnant.  Work with the nutritionist throughout the pregnancy to create a plan for healthy eating and weight gain.  Continue to see her post-partum.  She can help you return to a normal weight through healthy means.
  • Individual counseling during and after pregnancy can help you cope with your concerns and fears regarding food, weight gain, body image and the new role of mothering.
  • If your doctor approves, attend a prenatal exercise class. It can help you practice healthy limits to exercising.
  • Other classes on pregnancy, childbirth, child development and parenting skills can also be helpful in preparing to become a mother, and make you feel more “normal” on your journey.
  • Ask about natural antidepressants to stabilise your mood safely during pregnancy.
  • Tailor your schedule to your pregnancy instead of trying to keep your regular schedule; cut back on commitments and activities if necessary. This will help reduce the need for your ED as a coping mechanism.

We have years of clinical experience working with all kinds of prospective parents, with all kinds of obstacles and considerations on their road to building a family. If you’re concerned about yours and your baby’s health as a result of your ED, we’d love to work with you to help you implement the above and find a treatment plan that works for you.

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