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Bulimia and Pregnancy
When a women is pregnant she is expect to gain at least twenty-two pounds during the course of her pregnancy. In fact some women may consider pregnancy as a time to forget about all the diets, exercise, and eat without being concerned about weight gain for at least nine months. But when a woman has an eating disorder such as bulimia or bulimia nervosa, eating the recommended amount of calories needed and keeping the food down may present a challenge. Bulimia is an eating disorder characterized by periods of binge eating followed by purging, using laxatives, or diuretics. Sometimes when a woman is bulimic and is pregnant she may stop binge eating and purging for the duration of her pregnant. But when she is unable to stop the affects can be devastating to her fetus as well as herself.
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If we suffer from bulimia or not, most of us know that it is not good for us physically or mentally. This is because when a woman binges and purges it can cause heart disease, malnutrition, abdominal pain, or tooth decay. A concern is that pregnancy problems with bulimia can cause a whole new set of physical and emotional problems for the pregnant woman and her baby. Most of the affects of bulimia on the pregnant woman is a result of her lack of calories and nutrition or the feeling that she may have about herself. When a pregnant bulimic woman does not want to gain weight and is constantly purging or taking laxatives, she becomes very exhausted and may even put herself at risk for developing osteoporosis. Because she is now eating for herself as well as her child and when she does not put the proper nutrition into her body it will cause the fetus to take from her reserves which can leave her body depleted. She runs a risk of developing preeclampsia which is a condition that can be deadly to her and her baby; it causes high blood pressure, high protein levels in the urine as well as swelling in the hands and feet because of poor nutrition. She may also become depressed during her pregnancy and develop postpartum depression after her pregnancy. This is because she is so concerned about the amount of weight she is gaining and the food that she eating. Her negative views of herself may increase and she may become overwhelmed. Pregnancy problems with bulimia during pregnancy may also affect the fetus while in the womb and in later years. The inadequate nutrition may cause delayed fetal growth and fetal death while in the womb. Outside the womb it may cause low birth weight, deformities, and developmental delays.
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Getting Help for Bulimia
It is very important to get help for bulimia when you are pregnant in order to keep your baby well and yourself healthy. First you will need to talk to your physician or midwife so they will be aware of your eating disorder and proceed with the necessary steps to get you the help that you need. You will also need to talk to a nutritionist who will talk to you about what foods you should be eating and will help you come up with a plan to get you back on the right track. Also speaking to a psychiatrist or going to group meetings may also prove to be beneficial to you. The main goal for your health care provider will be to stop you from binge eating and purging and to help you develop healthy eating habits. Your provider will also help you to discover the cause of your bulimia and help you change the way you may feel about yourself and weight. Medications may also be prescribed for you in order to decrease your symptoms and reduce your binge cycles.