Anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and pregnancy

      This paper is only available as a PDF. To read, Please Download here.
      Of 74 women previously treated for anorexia nervosa or bulimia, 15 had conceived 23 pregnancies when assessed at follow-up. The status of the eating disorder, course of pregnancy and delivery, infant health, and postpartum adjustment are described. Women in whom eating disorders were in remission at conception had greater maternal weight gain and babies with higher birth weights and 5-minute Apgar scores than women who conceived while they still had symptoms of restricting anorexia nervosa or bulimia. Women who had symptoms of eating disorders at conception also had continuance or worsening of these symptoms during pregnancy and the postpartum year. We recommend delay of pregnancy until the eating disorder is truly in remission.

      Key words

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Szmukler GI
        The epidemiology of anorexia nervosa and bulimia.
        J Psychiatr Res. 1985; 19: 143-154
        • Kay DWK
        • Leigh D
        The natural history, treatment and prognosis of anorexia based on a study of 38 patients.
        J Ment Sci. 1954; 100: 411-431
        • Beck JC
        • Brockner-Mortensen K
        Observation on the prognosis in anorexia nervosa.
        Acta Med Scand. 1954; 149: 409-430
        • Dally P
        • Sargant W
        Treatment and outcome of anorexia nervosa.
        Br Med J. 1966; 2: 793-795
        • Farquharson RF
        • Hyland H
        Anorexia nervosa: the course of 15 patients treated from 20 to 30 years previously.
        J Can Med Assoc. 1966; 94: 411-419
        • Starkey TA
        • Lee RA
        Menstruation and fertility in anorexia nervosa.
        Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1969; 105: 374-379
        • Theander S
        Anorexia nervosa: a psychiatric investigation of 94 female patients.
        Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1970; 214: 94
        • Hart T
        • Kase N
        • Kimball CP
        Induction of ovulation and pregnancy in patients with anorexia nervosa.
        Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1970; 108: 580-584
        • Willi J
        • Hagemann R
        Langzeitverlaufe von anorexia nervosa.
        Schweiz Med Wochenschr. 1976; 106: 1459-1465
        • Brinch M
        • Isager T
        • Tolstrup K
        Anorexia nervosa graviditeter indtruffet for, under og efter Sygdommen.
        Ugeskr Laeger. 1985; 147: 292-296
        • Garfinkel PE
        • Garner DM
        Anorexia nervosa: a multidimensional perspective. Brunner-Mazel, New York1982
        • Toner BB
        • Garfinkel PE
        • Garner DM
        Long term follow up of anorexia nervosa.
        Psychosom Med. 1986; 48: 520-529
        • Namir S
        • Melman KN
        • Yager J
        Pregnancy in restrictertype anorexia nervosa; a study of six women.
        Int J Eating Disorders. 1986; 5: 837-845
        • Abrams BF
        • Laros RK
        Prepregnancy weight, weight gain, and birth weight.
        Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1986; 154: 503-509
        • Allen LH
        Effects of nutritional status on pregnancy and lactation.
        in: Malnutrition: determinants and consequences. Alan R Liss, New York1984: 101-109
        • Garfinkel PE
        • Moldofsky H
        • Garner DM
        The heterogeneity of anorexia nervosa: bulimia as a distinct group.
        Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1980; 37: 1036-1040
      1. Stewart DE, MacDonald OL. Hyperemesis gravidarum, eating disorders and pregnancy. In: Abraham SF, ed. Proceedings of the second international conference on eating disorders. Sydney: Adis Pty, 1986 (in press).