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Pregnant. Is anorexia dangerous to the baby?

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Posted on Sat, 26 May 2012
Question: Anorexia and Pregnancy
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My sister is pregnant and I am very worried about the baby. I think my sister is anorexic. Can you give me some information so that I can try to reason with my sister? Is anorexia XXXXXXX to the baby? Most of the treatments I've seen for anorexia require drugs and I don't know if pregnant women can use drugs. I really need your help!
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Answered by Dr. Ashish Mittal (2 hours later)
Hello,

Thanks for writing in.
You are right that anorexia can indeed lead to many complications during pregnancy. As the nutritional stores in the mother’s body is low, pregnancy drains them further. This puts stress on both the mother and the child.
The risks for the mother include depression, miscarriage, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia ( a condition where the blood pressure is increased and can have XXXXXXX implications for both the mother and the child), complications during labor and increased risk of cesarean birth.
The risks for the child include low birth weight, delayed fetal growth stillbirth or fetal death respiratory problems and premature labor
During pregnancy, her gynaecologist needs to be informed early on about the possibility of an eating disorder. Further, she should strive for healthy weight gain, eat well-balanced meals with all the appropriate nutrients, find a nutritionist and seek appropriate counselling. Also, she needs to be tested at regular intervals to make sure that the baby is doing fine.

Medications for anorexia are best avoided during pregnancy. But many a times, especially in high risk cases, a risk benefit analysis need to be done. In the latter situation, the decision to continue therapy is taken after a detailed discussion with prospective parents, review of past history, consideration of co existing medical problems and physical & mental status examination.
Till the time you can actually follow the above recommendations, keep a record of your sister’s diet and motivate her to eat more and healthy food.
I hope this answer your query. Should you have any additional concerns, let me know. I will be glad to assist you.

Regards,

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Aparna Kohli
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Answered by
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Dr. Ashish Mittal

Psychiatrist

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 1859 Questions

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Pregnant. Is anorexia dangerous to the baby?

Hello,

Thanks for writing in.
You are right that anorexia can indeed lead to many complications during pregnancy. As the nutritional stores in the mother’s body is low, pregnancy drains them further. This puts stress on both the mother and the child.
The risks for the mother include depression, miscarriage, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia ( a condition where the blood pressure is increased and can have XXXXXXX implications for both the mother and the child), complications during labor and increased risk of cesarean birth.
The risks for the child include low birth weight, delayed fetal growth stillbirth or fetal death respiratory problems and premature labor
During pregnancy, her gynaecologist needs to be informed early on about the possibility of an eating disorder. Further, she should strive for healthy weight gain, eat well-balanced meals with all the appropriate nutrients, find a nutritionist and seek appropriate counselling. Also, she needs to be tested at regular intervals to make sure that the baby is doing fine.

Medications for anorexia are best avoided during pregnancy. But many a times, especially in high risk cases, a risk benefit analysis need to be done. In the latter situation, the decision to continue therapy is taken after a detailed discussion with prospective parents, review of past history, consideration of co existing medical problems and physical & mental status examination.
Till the time you can actually follow the above recommendations, keep a record of your sister’s diet and motivate her to eat more and healthy food.
I hope this answer your query. Should you have any additional concerns, let me know. I will be glad to assist you.

Regards,