Eating disorders have taken on a new trend. It's going beyond what commonly comes to mind (anorexia, bulimia, etc.,) and it affecting more than just image obsessed teens.
Some women are starving themselves, and their developing babies, in an effort not to gain weight during
pregnancy. This disorder is called Pregorexia.
I understand the fear of weight gain and cankles during pregnancy. I gained almost 40 pounds during my first pregnancy, and it was a struggle getting back into my pre-pregnancy jeans.
During my second pregnancy, which required bed rest and no exercise at all, I was really concerned that I was going to get huge. I actually managed to eat like I was supposed to: grains, veggies, fruit, and lean meat; and I gained 30 pounds (suggested weight gain for a normal singleton pregnancy is between 25-35 pounds.)
I still compared myself to other non-pregnant women; who in Los Angeles are a size 2, on average. Body image is distorted here in the land of make believe and movies; and there is pressure everywhere to be thin and in rock solid shape, even while pregnant. There are pregnant women in L.A. who are still a size two, other than a small stomach bump. And honestly, it makes me wonder.
Doctors estimate that up to twenty percent of women do not gain enough weight during pregnancy. Women who restrict caloric intake and over exercise can experience uterine bleeding, increased instance of miscarriage, risk for premature delivery, and low birthweight.
Premature babies with low birthweight
can experience complications such as respiratory distress syndrome, bleeding in the brain, Patent ductus arteriosus, (a heart problem,) Necrotizing enterocolitis (intestinal problems that may require surgery,) and Retinopathy of prematurity (blood vessels in the eyes do not grow properly, sometimes resulting in loss of vision.)
Maggie Bauman, who struggled with pregorexia during her second pregnancy and then with anorexia after giving birth; hid her calorie restriction and extreme exercise from everyone, even her husband and her doctor. During her seventh month of pregnancy she had uterine bleeding, and her doctor suspected that her baby was experiencing growth retardation. She was told to stop exercising altogether, but she merely convinced herself that she if she didn’t go to the gym she wasn’t really working out, so she worked out at home. When she gave birth to her daughter, the baby developed seizures and has attention deficit issues, which her doctor attributes to malnourishment in utero.
to see a slide show of Maggie Bauman's pregnancy, and you will see that she barely looks pregnant at all.
If you are struggling with this condition, trust me, it is dangerous. By restricting your own caloric intake, and/or exercising to extreme, you are restricting the vital nutrients your baby needs to develop normally. Without proper nutrition during gestation, there is no going back and fixing the sort of damage that can be done. The long-term health of your baby is at risk, and you must seek professional help immediately.
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