Bulimia and Pregnancy – The Possible Advantages and the Dangers


Bulimia and pregnancy have an interesting way of coming together that is not always negative. Many physicians have discovered that bulimic women actually manage their condition better after they become pregnant. Bulimic women are often overwhelmed by concern for their baby, and face relaxed societal pressures about their weight. Pregnant women are always beautiful, and no one expects for a pregnant woman to be thin.

There is also evidence to suggest that bulimia and pregnancy negate one another neurologically when it comes to mood and appetite. Pregnant women develop hormones that bulimic women often lack, regulating appetite and mood, so that they are often able to return to pre-bulimic eating behaviors.

Women who were bulimic before pregnancy have a statistical advantage during the pregnancy itself, and seem to stand a better chance of stopping bingeing and purging behaviors for the duration of the pregnancy. However, bulimia and pregnancy have different time restrictions. Bulimia takes months or years to subdue and conquer, while pregnancy has a pretty strict time limit. Postpartum depression and a severe return to bulimic patterns of behavior after delivery are an intense risk for women who suffer from bulimia. Bulimia and pregnancy might work together for a while, but it is an unstable kind of harmony, and it doesn’t even resemble a recovery.

Bulimia and pregnancy are not perfect bedfellows. The dangers that accompany bulimia and pregnancy are exponentially higher when the two are combined. Bulimia robs the body of important nutrients that a fetus desperately needs. In addition, pregnancy makes women more vulnerable to malnutrition and the dangers that surround bulimia. Pregnant women who regularly binge and purge put themselves and their babies in severe danger.

When bulimia and pregnancy come together in a health care situation, doctors often employ severe counseling and observation methods to ensure that the bulimic behavior is stopped and the causes of it are addressed. Bulimia and pregnancy can also create or reinforce a cycle of guilt and shame that worsens the condition. When pregnant women engage in bulimic behaviors, they are fully aware that they may be harming their baby, but they are unable to help themselves. This can cause an intense self-loathing that only reinforces and empowers bulimic behavior.

Bulimia and pregnancy can sometimes function together in an unstable harmony. Pregnancy drives normally bulimic women into a temporary remission. However, bulimia and pregnancy actively co-exist (if a woman binges and purges while pregnant) the consequences for both mother and child can be tragic. If you are pregnant and bulimic, or know someone who is, be extremely careful and observant so that both the mother and the child are healthy.