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Eating Disorders and Fertility

On a positive note, 75 to 80 percent of women will conceive after the treatment and management of an eating disorder. In some cases, a pregnancy is exactly what a woman needs to help her completely overcome her disorder. However, just because an eating disorder has been treated does not mean the risks in pregnancy have disappeared.

If you have an eating disorder...

  • Before you get pregnant: Seek counseling. Make a pre-conception appointment with your doctor and inform her that you have an eating disorder. Consider talking to a therapist. Meet with a nutritionist and discuss a healthy pregnancy diet. Take prenatal vitamins. Achieve a healthy weight and do your best to maintain it.
  • Once you are pregnant: Try to gain the proper amount of pregnancy weight (25-35 pounds). Schedule an early prenatal visit with your doctor and be sure she knows about your disorder. Continue with a healthy diet by eating well-balanced meals that contain the appropriate nutrients. Do not purge. Both individual and group therapy can also be helpful.
  • After you have your baby: Continue counseling to ensure your physical and mental health. Tell your close friends and family about your disorder if you haven't already. Inform them that you are more susceptible to postpartum depression and be sure you have their support during this time. Meet with a delivery room nurse or lactation consultant to help you with early breastfeeding.
  • If you are struggling with an eating disorder and wish to have a baby, it is best to seek professional help and treatment before you begin trying. Your doctor will recommend that you wait until you have your disorder under control before getting pregnant. Once you have fully recovered and successfully conceived, remember to continue with a nutritious, well-balanced diet to ensure that you and your baby stay healthy throughout the term of your pregnancy.

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