While eating disorders are common in women of childbearing age, there is relatively little information on obstetric and perinatal outcomes in this population.  A recent review indicates that women with current eating disorder, as well as women with a history of eating disorder, are at risk of adverse outcomes, including hyperemesis, bleeding, and low birth weight. However the most common complication reported was perinatal depression.

The authors note that we do not routinely screen for eating disorders in women who are pregnant or planning pregnancy, and that many women with eating disorders do not readily disclose their symptoms. Greater attention to eating behaviors and screening eating disorders during pregnancy is the first step in improving outcomes in this population. 

Ruta Nonacs, MD PhD

Eating disorders are associated with adverse obstetric and perinatal outcomes: a systematic review Maila de C das Neves et al. Braz J Psychiatry. 2021. Free article

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