Eating Disorders and Pregnancy: Supporting the Anorexic or Bulimic Expectant Mother

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Eating disorders have been on the rise since the 1980s. For a woman previously treated for an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia, a pregnancy may exacerbate prior symptoms. Women with an eating disorder may also be embarrassed by or reluctant to reveal prior or current symptoms to healthcare providers. This article presents a case study of an expectant new mother with a history of anorexia. The information will help nurses become more alert to predisposing factors that may indicate a potential problem with an eating disorder, and provide practical ways to help these women cope with their anxiety about their changing bodies. As a result, nurses can help these women maintain a healthy pregnancy with a good neonatal outcome.

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