Eating disorders and pregnancy
Hope Virgo shares her experiences of pregnancy and eating disorders, and gives advice for midwives looking to support those with a diagnosis or history of these disorders
The marketing around pregnancy can feel like a minefield for some people, as it involves navigating the forbidden food list and living with the fear and anxiety of making sure the baby is growing properly. When a pregnant person also has an eating disorder, it can add a layer of complication not only to navigating foods, body changes and emotions, but also to the mixed messages pregnant people can be presented with.
The 2019 NHS health survey found that 16% of the adult population (those aged 16 years or over) screened positive for a possible eating disorder (NHS Digital, 2020). Through my campaign work, it has been clear that because of stigma and shame, many people do not seek support or receive a diagnosis. With these staggering statistics, there is no doubt that midwives will have already come into contact with someone affected by an eating disorder and will do in the future.
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