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Pregnancy and eating disorders...


BornToResist
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I have been anorexic since I was about 12 or 13, but I got it under control during my later teen years. However I still continually suffered with my weight but I was able to keep it under control. I never let myself gain a pound, and would still obsess about it, even though I was at a "safe" weight. This really wasn't done for my health, I did it because people noticed I was too skinny and were hasseling me about it. So I compromised and changed my weight goal. I could allow myself to be such-and-such a weight, but absolutely NO MORE ever. I'd exercise a ton and completely cut off my food intake if I got a little more than that.

 

But now I'm pregnant and have to gain *gasp* 30 pounds?? I have just started seeing my belly grow and it really wasn't a problem, until today. I weighed myself this morning and I've only gained 5 pounds, but I'm kind of freaking out about it. I've read that this is a normal amount to gain at this point, but I'm having trouble believing this baby is taking up that much and I find myself thinking that I must be eating too much. I can feel it kicking back in...the anxiety and the low self esteem. I understand that I have to gain weight for my health as well as the health of my child, but I don't know how to handle it, other than slipping into a depression.

 

I keep trying to get excited about it and think about my "baby bump," but that excitement seems to have worn off and now I'm starting to stress over it. I used to be okay as long as I would stay away from scales, but that doesn't seem to work either.

 

I was just wondering if anyone has gone through a pregnancy while recovering from an eating disorder, and how to handle it?

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Hey BTR,

 

Just wondering- had you sought professional counseling for your eating disorder previously? If not, now might be a good time- or contacting your OB with a confession and a counseling session about nutrition during pregnancy.

 

The average healthy weight gain for a pregnancy is 23-35 lbs. If you were thin to start with, 35lbs is a more reasonable goal, possibly even up to 40-45lbs. The first trimester typically sees a 4-8lb weight gain, with each subsequent trimester, the second trimester on average is 1 lb per week and and third trimester is on average 1.5-2.5 lbs per week.

 

If someone is thin to being with, they will typically gain a little bit more, not all in "baby weight" but building up mom's body's nutrition storage and ability to sustain a pregnancy. Pregnancy takes alot out of a woman's body and it self regulates as best it can to be at least the optimal weight to sustain and maintain a healthy pregnancy. Mom needs good nutrition too, since the fetus takes so much and mom is trying to balance her own needs as well as this little baby's needs too.

 

I wonder if it would help you to talk to either a support group for eating disorders, or at the very least your OB or a nutritionist about this. After all, your baby and your body needs optimal nutrition during this time- and again while you are nursing.

 

Typically you should eat an extra 300-500 calories per day over your "normal" (prepregnant) intake- and continue to do so while nursing and while your body heals from the pregnancy and birth.

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I agree with above posts, please seek professional help so that you are treating your body and your baby right. This baby is YOUR responsibility and if you malnourish it at this critical stage in development it WILL mean serious consequences for the rest of its life. I am so sorry that you have had this burden all of your life but it is time to be strong for your child. Remember it is hard to eat too much when you have a baby.

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Don't get me wrong...I am eating. And I'm eating EXTREMELY healthy. Anorexia for me is about control...I'm a control freak...and I can control this. I eat everything right and do everything the books say right down to a T. I know what has to be done, and believe me, I'm going to do it. I am extremely responsible when it comes to this baby. I'm going to be able to look back and know that I did it all right.

 

I am just lost when it comes to handling it. I'm getting depressed about it. I know that's only going to get worse.

 

My mother also had this eating disorder. I remember her obsessing about weight, and even when I was at my lowest point, it seemed to be a game to her somehow. She would compete with me to eat the smallest amount. I know she didn't have a clue she was doing it and she still doesn't. I don't want to be like that either. I know how I feel about my body will reflect on my child.

 

I haven't talked to my doctor about it. I had to talk to a doctor a while ago because I was having heart problems because of it, but those went away. I'll bring it up when I go to the doctor, but I am at a healthy weight right now. I hope she understands and just doesn't think I'm making it up or something.

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Would it help you to know what all of those pounds are accounting for?

 

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Knowing that I was going to have to gain 35 pounds was terrifying to me. I talked to my doctor about it and she helped me out a lot. Each and every one of those pounds are important to your baby and to your health. You say that you have always obsessed about keeping yourself at a "safe" weight - gaining 35 pounds during pregnancy is a "safe" weight. Continue to eat right, just eat more because you're nourishing your child as well as yourself.

 

That 5 pounds that you've already gained is extra blood and other fluids that you're retaining throughout your body and in your womb. It's a good thing!

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I knew a girl who was bulemic and she refused to eat while pregnant. She eventually had to take an IV bag with dextrose and nutrients home with her and infuse it regularly. She scoffed at the idea that women gained 25 pounds and by the time she was fully pregnant, she had only gained 15 pounds. However, the baby was healthy and arrived on time. It was a bit low-birth small at 6" and 6 ounces, but I gather it went surprizingly well for her. I think 5 pounds is OK during the first trimester, no more, no less and about 10-15 during the second. I really don't think you want to gain less than 19 pounds during the pregnancy.

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Would it help you to know what all of those pounds are accounting for?

 

link removed

 

Knowing that I was going to have to gain 35 pounds was terrifying to me. I talked to my doctor about it and she helped me out a lot. Each and every one of those pounds are important to your baby and to your health. You say that you have always obsessed about keeping yourself at a "safe" weight - gaining 35 pounds during pregnancy is a "safe" weight. Continue to eat right, just eat more because you're nourishing your child as well as yourself.

 

That 5 pounds that you've already gained is extra blood and other fluids that you're retaining throughout your body and in your womb. It's a good thing!

 

Thanks so much! I also found this chart on that site that will tell me how much weight I should gain at whatever week I'm in. And I'll have to keep telling myself that this weight is now healthy for me, like you said. My other current goal isn't realistic anymore.

 

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(In case anyone is in my shoes..)

 

That was very helpful. I guess I'll have to go see a counselor as well. I just hate talking about it to other people. I know there are girls out there that have it so much worse than me and I feel like a cry baby. But I also know I'll get depressed if I don't find help for myself.

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Thanks so much! I also found this chart on that site that will tell me how much weight I should gain at whatever week I'm in. And I'll have to keep telling myself that this weight is now healthy for me, like you said. My other current goal isn't realistic anymore.

 

link removed

(In case anyone is in my shoes..)

 

That was very helpful. I guess I'll have to go see a counselor as well. I just hate talking about it to other people. I know there are girls out there that have it so much worse than me and I feel like a cry baby. But I also know I'll get depressed if I don't find help for myself.

 

 

Well, I just talked to you in a PM but I just read the thread. According to the chart, I should have gained around 22-24 lbs so far.

 

I don't know if anyone has read previous threads of mine but I was off and on bulemic for over 3 years. I'm 32 weeks pregnant and have only gained 14 lbs. Yet, my doctor insists that my son is a good size and are both perfectly healthy and theres nothing to worry about. She does feel that soon I'll start gaining faster and catch up to the weight I should be for my gestation.

 

Most websites use the "perfect textbook example" for charts such as those though. Not every woman is the same but it is a pretty good idea of what is healthy.

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