What are the risks of having an eating disorder if I'm pregnant?

Women with eating disorders have higher rates of miscarriage than do healthy, normal women. Also, your baby might be born prematurely, meaning that it would not weigh as much or be as well-developed as babies who are born full term. Women with anorexia nervosa are underweight and may not gain enough weight during pregnancy. They risk having a baby with abnormally low birth weight and related health problems. Women with bulimia nervosa who continue to purge may suffer dehydration, chemical imbalances, or even cardiac irregularities. Pregnancy heightens these health risks. Women who are overweight due to binge eating are at greater risk of developing high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, and overgrown babies. Low birth weight babies are at risk of many medical problems, some of them life threatening.

Your teeth and bones might become weak and fragile because the baby's need for calcium takes priority over yours. If you don't replenish calcium with dairy products and other sources, you could find yourself with stress fractures and broken bones in later years. Once calcium is gone from your bones, it is difficult, if not impossible, to replace it.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.