Anorexia Nervosa and Unplanned Pregnancy May Go Together

Those suffering from anorexia can take heart! Unplanned pregnancy and even induced abortion seem to be possible even for patients with anorexia nervosa as a new study suggests.

The study, conducted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, seems to clear some confusion regarding anorexia and pregnancy. Anorexic patients suffer from irregular menstrual periods. Some of these women do not menstruate at all. These women often suppose that they can not become pregnant because of their period problems. Cynthia M. Bulik, the lead author of the study, dismissed this conception. She said that anorexia does not prevent conception and even went on to describe it as “not a good contraceptive”.

She also said that physicians and health care professionals need to become aware of this. Doctors who treat adolescent girls and women should openly discuss sexual and pregnancy issues with anorexic patients just as they do with normal, healthy women. This will remove confusion in patients with anorexic nervosa.

According to Bulik, who is also the director of the UNC Eating Disorders Program, health care providers in charge of pregnant women need to be aware when they have an eating disorder. This will help them provide adequate care to the women. She said the process can begin with testing pregnant women for eating irregularities during pre-delivery visits.

The study conducted by Bulik and her team had 62 women who reported that they had anorexia nervosa. The survey, known as the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study, was also based on data gathered from 62,060 women. It has been brought out in the November 2010 issue of the journal called “Obstetrics & Gynecology”.

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