Lente M Johnson
Lesson 11 Rough Draft
Pregorexia: Is This Disorder Real?
Pregorexia is a disorder coined by the media for women who have the eating disorder or anorexia during pregnancy. Though Pregorexia isn't commonly recognized by most healthcare professionals, the severe health risks associated with the disorder continues to raise concerns to expecting women across the nation. With there being many disorders that are life threatening during pregnancy as it is, there is always room for concern when it comes to ensuring that a baby is born healthy. But what happens when having any type of disorder can affect the well being of another human life? Due to Pregorexia being so uncommonly recognized, many pregnant women do not have the proper information available to them to be properly diagnosed. Early intervention or proper education during pregnancy could save the life of an unborn child and the expecting mother.
With an increasing number of individuals that are affected by eating disorders, it is important for women who are planning pregnancy to change their lifestyle and follow the rules of an appropriate balanced diet.. A healthcare professional can help determine an appropriate weight gain specific to the expecting mother during pregnancy. Women who have a history of
eating disorders and or have a weak social support system, have a higher risk of having Pregorexia during and even after their pregnancy. Some of the specific warning signs of a pregnant women that may have the disorder include: Talking about the pregnancy as if it weren't real, heavily focusing on calorie counts, eating alone or skipping meals, or exercising excessively. .
The idea of weight gain during pregnancy for women who suffer from the disorder can take a toll on the mommy to be. Many women with Pregorexia find themselves worrying about losing the baby weight before even giving birth. However, not gaining enough weight during pregnancy can be dangerous and poses many health risks. Pregorexia patients know that restricting themselves of a proper diet is risky, but they feel as if they have lost control over their lives mentally, physically, and emotionally. Restricting food intake during pregnancy could run the risk of low birth weight, prematurity, miscarriage, and malnutrition. .
Women with Pregorexia can subconsciously over exercise or eat significantly less without realizing it. A large majority of this stems from how the disorder came about to begin with. Media and societal influences affect our ideas of what a typical pregnancy should look like. In the summer of 2008, the media leapt on the new term: Pregorexia. The hype surrounding the disorder goes as far back as 2004 when an article detailed the lives of women wanting 'the perfect pregnant body'. . "The piece detailed the lives of fashionable New York City women anxious to achieve a 'perfect' pregnancy body, going so far as to work out everyday with heart monitors in an effort to push their heart rates to the maximum safe limit" (Mathieu 2009). One major issue with promoting such an unhealthy body image to pregnant women aside from the
health risks, is that pregnant women are a group which is especially vulnerable to eating disorders. . Another type of eating disorder, Binge Eating Disorder (BED) consist of consuming excessive amounts of food, leading to excess weight gain and high birth weight babies. . According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist, "women are in fact gaining too much weight during pregnancy" (Mathieu 2009). It has been stated by several health care professionals that in their experience it is women gaining too much weight during pregnancy and not the other way around. One major reason why the disorder often goes un-diagnosed.
Pregorexia can occur before, during, and even after pregnancy. Some women with a history of disordered eating, are particularly at risk for eating disorders. This is the most common for first time mothers who aren't prepared for what is going to happen to their bodies.  This can be the beginning stages of the disorder. During pregnancy for Pregorexia patients, the mother begins to feel as though she is losing control over the amount of weight that will unwillingly add throughout their pregnancy. For some, many won't share their history of an unhealthy relationship with food with a health care professional. After pregnancy, Pregorexia comes into play once the new mommy begins to worry about getting off the baby weight quickly. For breastfeeding mothers, losing the weight too quickly could affect the nutrients in their breastmilk supply needed to pass on to their newborn. This could deter new mothers from choosing the option to breastfeed due to the lack of control they'll feel over their body. Thus, Pregorexia continuing.
So, Pregorexia: Is this disorder real? Pregorexia is in fact a real disorder. Due to the lack of information available, many healthcare professionals don't have much faith in the media coined disorder. Because Pregorexia has many symptoms as other disorders, many women go their entire pregnancy misdiagnosed. With the media having such a high impact on body image to the community of pregnant women, it is important for women who are planning to conceive, to get used to the fact that they are going to have to change their lifestyle and eating habits. Severe health risks go hand in hand with Pregorexia due to it involves self-starvation and/or induced vomiting during pregnancy. To decrease the risk of malnutrition and low birth weight, early intervention and proper education of the disorder could save the life of the mother and unborn child. Many aren't aware that Pregorexia can also occur even after childbirth. New mothers are concerned with losing the "baby weight" as quickly as possible causing the mind to over obsess about calorie intake. Media and societal influences often affect our ideas of what a typical pregnancy should look like however it is important to know that not every pregnancy is one in the same.
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Mathieu, Jennifer. What Is Pregorexia. Volume 109, Issue 6, Pages 976-979