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This condition is also known as ‘the anorexia of pregnant women’. That’s right, a woman in pregnancy can also suffer from an eating disorder such as pregorexia, which puts her and her baby’s life in danger.
It is characterized by a severe fear of fattening and losing the figure during pregnancy, which is why women who suffer from it tend to deprive themselves of food in order not to gain weight, in addition to presenting other behaviours such as excessive exercise, vomiting food (especially those high in calories), and the use of laxatives, among others.
According to a study conducted by the University of Durham, it is estimated that more than 30% of pregnant women are very concerned about their weight gain and turn to nutrition experts to take a balanced diet.
However, there are another 8% of future mothers who go beyond the worry and develop an obsession with their increase in height, which leads them to perform diets on their own and deprive themselves of a large amount of food, with which they stop receiving the nutrients necessary for the proper development of the baby.
Despite the recommendations of doctors, about eating a balanced diet at this stage of their lives, women who develop pregorexia cannot avoid feeling guilty about weight gain. They are aware of the changes that their body will present during pregnancy, but they are still obsessed with the idea of changing their size. Many of them refuse to wear maternity clothes; for fear that this type of garment will make them look bigger.
What are the Symptoms of Pregorexia?
Researchers from the University of Rouen, in France, also conducted a study to learn about the eating habits of pregnant women. The results showed that 40% of women take care of the food and the amounts they consume, but not obsessively. That is, try not to gain excess weight (develop obesity), but it does not limit the nutrients that your body requires. In this way they seek to have a balance between taking care of their figure and the needs of the baby.
However, 10% of the future mothers who participated in the study did not register an adequate weight gain. In this regard, the researcher Fulvia Mancini explained: “These are women who obsessively count calories, always try to eat alone or skip meals, train excessively and can get the vomit.”
The Dr. Thoshan Signa – Best Gynecologist in Hyderabad also ensures that most patients do not realize that they suffer from pregorexia, therefore they do not receive adequate treatment. Hence the importance of family and friends being attentive to any signal,
– Changes in attitude (anxiety, irritability, among others)
– Weight reduction
– Nausea and / or lack of appetite (especially after the first trimester)
– Rejection before ingredients that used to be consumed
– Count the calories of each food and discard those that are considered ‘fattening’ although they are not
– Skip meals
– Practice fasting
– Considerable increase in exercise hours, etc.
– Weigh yourself constantly
– Fear of people noticing the growth of their ‘tummy’. Anger when this happens
– Use of sashes to ‘keep under control’ the increase in the size of the belly
Consequences of Pregorexia
This eating disorder can have serious consequences for both the mother and the baby, especially because low weight leads to a high-risk pregnancy. Because it does not have a balanced diet, women can have anemia, declassification of bones, hair loss, general weakness, problems in the digestive system, among others.
As for the baby, if the pregorexia occurs from the first trimester, the risk of alterations in the neural tube, spina bifida, among others increases. In addition, the possibility of a miscarriage increases.
If the eating disorder appears in the second trimester, the risk of premature birth increases. In addition, the baby may have intrauterine growth retardation, bone, digestive or cardiovascular malformations.
Comprehensive Treatment for Pregorexia
If the pregnant woman or one of her loved ones detects any of the mentioned symptoms, it is necessary to go to the specialist, so that she coordinates a comprehensive treatment. It is likely that the multidisciplinary team includes a psychologist to help her cope with her obsession with weight, a nutritionist to guide her to have an adequate diet, and an obstetrician who is monitoring the baby’s development.
It is important to remember that healthy weight gain depends on each person’s own complexion. For women of low weight, an increase of between 13 and 18 kilos is recommended throughout pregnancy. Women with normal weight will see an increase of between 11 and 15 kilograms. On the other hand, overweight patients should watch that the strengthening is from 6 to 10 kilos.