The effects of bulimia during pregnancy can be incredibly dangerous for the unborn child and may cause a host of problems. Women who are bulimic while they are pregnant are more likely to have many complications, including miscarriage and premature labor. Bulimia during pregnancy can also cause women to deliver babies who are stillborn or who have a very low birth weight. A woman who wants to avoid the negative side effects of bulimia during her pregnancy should be upfront with her doctor about her problem so she can get the help she needs.
Pregnancy can be very hard on women who are bulimic because many of them already suffer from severe psychological issues regarding their weight. Gaining healthy weight during pregnancy is normal, and women who are bulimic may have a difficult time accepting the extra pounds. Bulimic women often binge eat and then either vomit up their food or take laxatives to rid their bodies of what they've eaten. A developing baby needs all the nutrients that a mother can provide from what she eats, and vomiting or laxative use after eating can prevent a fetus from getting the needed nutrition. Babies who are not getting adequate nutrition in the womb may not grow properly, and if they survive pregnancy, they may not be healthy at birth.
A woman who has bulimia during pregnancy should meet with her doctor to discuss her problem as soon as she learns of her pregnancy. Getting help early in pregnancy is recommended so that a woman can prevent any possible damage to the fetus. Bulimic women who are pregnant will likely be instructed to avoid unnecessary vomiting and may additionally be referred to a nutritionist to help them eat properly and gain a normal amount of weight during their pregnancies. Doctors also typically recommend regular counseling sessions for bulimic patients to help with the psychological issues that tend to cause bulimia.
In spite of the potential dangers, many women with bulimia during pregnancy are able to successfully manage their eating disorder and deliver healthy babies. Problems with bulimia may return after a baby is born, and for this reason a woman should continue her counseling sessions and keep seeing her nutritionist after delivery. Seeing a nutritionist after pregnancy may be a good idea for a woman who struggles with bulimia, because her nutritionist can help her safely get back to her pre-pregnancy weight. With proper management, a woman can eliminate the effects of bulimia on herself and her baby both during and after pregnancy.