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Eating disorders and pregnancy

Resources to help find an eating disorder service near you...

BEAT – Beating eating disorders says:

“Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses and can affect anyone at any age regardless of background or circumstances.

Eating disorders are difficult for anyone to understand – even the name ‘eating disorder’ is a bit misleading because the pre-occupation with food is only the outward sign of a desperate inner turmoil.

We do know that eating disorders are treatable and that full recovery is possible. The sooner someone gets the help and support they need, the better.

Everyone who suffers from an eating disorder will experience it in a different way, respond to different types of treatment, and take different amounts of time to recover.”

Pregnancy

Eating disorders can be a very secret disorder, try to be honest with your midwife or GP so they can offer you support. It may be recommended that you have extra scans during pregnancy, to check how your baby is growing, particularly if your weight is low. Just because you have an eating disorder, doesn’t mean your baby’s growth will be affected.

At booking the midwife will discuss the importance of healthy eating when you are pregnant and after you have had your baby. Pregnancy is a time when body image concerns are more prevalent, and for those who are struggling with an eating disorder it is important you strive for healthy weight gain and eat well-balanced meals with all the appropriate nutrients. You may be recommended to take supplements during pregnancy and your midwife can refer you to a dietician if you feel that would be helpful. If your weight or body mass index (BMI) is low then you may have specific recommendations relating to where you give birth and guidance around medication doses.

Your health visitor will meet you during your pregnancy and after birth and will revisit discussions about healthy eating and lifestyle during your postnatal recovery. They will also support you with advice on feeding your baby.

If you have previously or currently access a specialist eating disorder service, then these professionals can work collaboratively with maternity health professionals to provide holistic supportive care. Please share the contact details of the specialist eating disorder team so that your midwife or health visitor can contact them. The team at Southern Health eating disorder services will review each new referral and following an assessment (if appropriate), treatment options available will then be discussed with the woman.

Local resources and support:

National resources:

A resource to help find an eating disorder service near you