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Eating disorders can lead to pregnancy trouble

By: Ivanhoe Broadcast News

An unhealthy diet and lifestyle can negatively impact a woman's chances of conceiving, and if she is able to conceive she may not be able to carry the baby to term.

Having an eating disorder can be a difficult situation to overcome while trying to have a baby. One study out of Denmark found that even if women receive treatment for an eating disorder up to eight years before pregnancy their chances of having a high-risk pregnancy are just as great as women who sought treatment immediately before becoming pregnant.

According to Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders, Inc. (ANRED), about 20 percent of women in the United States who seek treatment at fertility clinics have an eating disorder.

Babies born to women who suffer from an eating disorder are commonly born prematurely. Premature birth usually means the baby has low birth weight, and in some cases hasn't finished developing properly. Some of the problems that can be associated with premature and low birth weight babies in some cases include lower IQ, learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, lung disease and psychiatric illness.

Some women with eating disorders welcome pregnancy, thinking of it as a biologically acceptable reason to gain weight. While it's a nice vacation from weight obsession for some women with eating disorders, for others putting on prenatal pounds sounds terrifying. If you have a history of an eating disorder and would like to have a child in a healthy way, there are several things to try.

According to ANRED you should talk to your doctor about nutritional concerns, and once you become pregnant, follow prenatal instructions as closely as you can. Talking with a councilor could be very beneficial when it comes to facing your fears of gaining weight. Taking childhood development classes will help you gain an understanding of the factors that go into prenatal development. Learning that your baby's development and well being, while in the womb, is completely dependent on your habits may have you thinking differently about the way you eat and your lifestyle choices in general.
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