Eating disorders linked to fertility problems

Washington: A new study has found that eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are associated with fertility problems, unplanned pregnancies and negative attitudes to pregnancy.

A team at King’s College London and UCL investigated a group of 11,088 pregnant women from the Avon area of the UK.

Women with lifetime anorexia and bulimia were compared to the group as a whole to assess the impact of their eating disorder on attitudes to fertility and pregnancy.

The survey revealed that a higher proportion of women with a history of anorexia and bulimia took longer than six months to conceive compared to the general population.

It also revealed that women with anorexia and bulimia were more than twice as likely than the general population to have received treatment or help to conceive their current pregnancy.

However, when asked at 18 weeks gestation, women with anorexia were more likely to report that their current pregnancy was unintentional.

In this group of women 41.5 percent said their pregnancy was unplanned compared to 28.6 percent of women in the general population.

The majority of women reported feeling overjoyed or pleased when they discovered that they were pregnant, but eating disorders were linked to negative feelings about pregnancy.

“This research highlights that there are risks to fertility associated with eating disorders,” said lead author, Abigail Easter, from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London.

The study will be published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.


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