Bulimia and Pregnancy – Beating Your Eating Disorder
Bulimia is an eating disorder which compels sufferers to binge eat and then purge with laxatives or induced vomiting. Because your baby needs all the nutrients you can give to grow and develop, bulimia during pregnancy can put him or her at serious risk.
Why do People Suffer from Bulimia in Pregnancy?
When you look at things rationally, you may ask why anyone would willingly rob their baby of the nutrients they need. But Pregnancy Bulimia is not a choice. It’s a compulsion. It is thought that bulimia is caused by insecurities around weight and appearance. And, pregnancy is a time when your body shape, size, and image changes more than any other time in your life. Women who have suffered from eating disorders prior to pregnancy are far more likely to relapse during pregnancy. If you’re in this situation, it’s not your fault. But you do need to seek help.
Effects of Bulimia During Pregnancy:
Your baby is relying on the nutrients you consume for growth and development. Some of the serious bulimia and pregnancy effects include:
- Fetal death (stillbirth)
- Delayed or abnormal fetal development
- Low birth weight
- Premature delivery
- Gestational diabetes
- Rapid weight loss leading to malnourishment
- Rapid weight gain leading to hypertension
- Prenatal and/or postpartum depression
- Difficulty breastfeeding
Seeking Help with Pregnancy Bulimia:
There is no shame in seeking help when you need it. And, if you find compulsive dieting behaviors creeping in while you’re pregnant, you really do need help. The first, and probably the hardest, step is to reach out and tell someone you need help. It could be your partner, your mom, a local support group, or your midwife. It doesn’t matter who you tell, as long as you tell someone you trust. From there, you should be able to get the support you need to get back on track for you and your baby. If you have a history of eating disorders before becoming pregnant, you should:
- Start prenatal appointments early and inform your professionals about the disorder.
- Eat a balanced and nutritional diet.
- Avoid binging and purging.
- Talk regularly with your partner about plans for your baby – keeping your exciting new addition in the forefront of your mind should help you stay on track for your baby’s sake.
- Have regular appointments with a counselor and/or nutritionist.
Now is the best time to seek help with your bulimia. Battling mental health issues now decreases your chances of continuing to suffer from bulimia after your baby is born, and of developing mental health issues such as postpartum depression when you should be enjoying the first weeks and months of your baby’s life.
What about After Pregnancy?
Postpartum is another period in women’s lives when compulsive dieting behaviors or eating disorders are most likely to strike. Your body has changed almost unrecognizably. You have soft bits that used to be firm. You may have stretch marks. Your breasts and nipples will have changed shape. It’s normal to feel some insecurity but it’s important not to let the compulsive behaviors creep back in. Your baby needs you to be physically and emotionally strong and the energy you get from food is essential for this. This is particularly important if you choose to breastfeed because all your baby’s nutrients are still coming through what you consume. When you’re breastfeeding, you really are eating for two and you need the right stuff to keep yourself energetic and alert for parenting and your baby growing and developing.
Keep communicating openly and seeking support. You’ve got this!
Articles on Healthy Lifestyle and Diet During Pregnancy:
There’s no need to reach for fries and chocolate – try one of our healthy pregnancy snack recipes. They’re packed with all the nutrients you need for a burst of energy that kicks salt and sugar cravings out the door.
What elements should be included in a healthy pregnancy diet? What nutrients does your baby need at each stage of development? Which foods should you avoid or limit? Are there supplements you should be taking? A comprehensive directory of articles on pregnancy diet and nutrition.
Staying fit and active during pregnancy has all sorts of unexpected benefits. You’ll have more energy, keep painful symptoms like back ache and stomach cramps at bay, ward off anxiety, depression, and insomnia and much more. Mothers who stay active during pregnancy also avoid unnecessary weight gain and find it much easier to lose pounds postpartum. Check out our easy and effective pregnancy workouts right here.