Antenatal and Postnatal Psychopathology Among Women with Current and Past Eating Disorders: Longitudinal Patterns

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Abstract

This study aims to investigate longitudinal patterns of psychopathology during the antenatal and postnatal periods among women with current (C-ED) and past (P-ED) eating disorders. Women were recruited to a prospective longitudinal study: C-ED (n = 31), P-ED (n = 29) and healthy control (HC; n = 57). Anxiety, depression and ED symptoms were measured at four time points: first/second trimester, third trimester, 8 weeks and 6 months postpartum. Linear mixed effects models were used to test for group differences. Women with C-ED and P-ED, in all diagnostic categories, had significantly higher levels of psychopathology at all time points. ED symptoms decreased in the C-ED group, compared with an overall increase in the other two groups but subsequently increased after pregnancy. Overall, depression and state and trait anxiety scores decreased in the C-ED group compared with the HC group throughout the antenatal and postnatal periods. High levels of psychopathology are common throughout the antenatal and postnatal periods among women with current and past ED, and despite some overall reductions, symptoms remain clinically significant. © 2014 The Authors. European Eating Disorders Review published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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