What Is Pregorexia?

What Is Pregorexia?Pregorexia is a term used to describe women who suffer from eating disorders while pregnant. Pregorexia can be a detrimental mental health disorder that affects both the pregnant woman and the unborn child. Pregnant women with eating disorders may starve themselves, excessively exercise, purge or harm themselves by following a diet that restricts calorie options. It is common for pregorexic women to blame their lack of weight gain on morning sickness or the natural nausea that often accompanies pregnancy.

Shame, secrecy and denial are often inherent characteristics of eating disorder sufferers and can be obstacles to receiving treatment help, even when an individual knows the dangers and wants to seek help. Eating disorders are mental health illnesses that distort a woman’s perception of herself. Women with eating disorders can become obsessed with being thin and compulsively controlling their diets.

Dangers of Eating Disorders during Pregnancy

The possible dangers of having an eating disorder while pregnant can be detrimental to both the woman and her unborn child. A number of complications can arise from the disorder, including the following:

  • Obstetric complications, miscarriage, breech delivery, unplanned Caesarian sections and the need for forceps
  • Premature and low birth weight babies
  • A fetus with growth retardation and vitamin deficiencies that can cause irreversible physical and mental damage
  • Future health complications for the child including anemia, ADHD, rickets, heart disease, depression and underdeveloped intellectual, emotional and social skills
  • Increased risk of depression, exhaustion and malnutrition for the woman
  • Weakened teeth and bones for the woman which can cause stress fractures and vulnerability to broken bones
  • Increased risk of diabetes, heart, liver and kidney damage that can be fatal to the mother later in life

Eating Disorder Treatment During and After Pregnancy

It is imperative for women suffering from pregorexia to seek professional medical help during and after pregnancy. For women who cannot abstain from the destructive behaviors during pregnancy, immediate treatment for the eating disorder may be needed. This treatment may include nutrition counseling, exercise training assistance, support groups, health education, psychotherapy and group or family therapy.

It is also common for women to manage their eating disorders during pregnancy and relapse after the child is born. If proper treatment for the eating disorder was not received, the woman may still suffer from the underlying issues that caused the disorder originally. The compulsive behavior that results from an eating disorder can interfere with the mother’s ability to nurture and connect with her child. The child may even suffer from physical or emotional neglect and face long-term physical, mental, emotional and social consequences.

Other issues such as post-partum depression and anxiety can also contribute to a woman’s eating disorder relapse. The frustrations of being a new parent can be stressful and commonly trigger compulsive and abusive behaviors.

Help for Pregnant Women and Mothers with Eating Disorders

If you are pregnant or a new mother and are struggling with an eating disorder, please call our toll-free helpline now. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day to assist you with all of your questions about eating disorders and to help you find the best treatment and recovery services for your situation. Please call now.