Pregorexia: Body Image Putting Babies at Risk!
I guess it was just a matter of time before something like this happened. The news is full of stories and pictures of celebrities snapping back into shape weeks after giving birth. Now the obsession with being thin and dieting has given rise to a new condition: PREGOREXIA.
What is Pregorexia?
This is a disorder that affects pregnant women who have an obsession with being thin. It involves not only excessive exercising, but also dieting, and sometimes self-induced vomiting. Pregorexia affects pregnant women who want to avoid putting on too much weight while pregnant and to lose it quickly after giving birth.
In some quarters it is referred to as anorexia for pregnant women. Not everyone sees it as an eating disorder. This is based on the fact that pregorexia is about more than just dieting.
Dangers to the Unborn Child
There are a number of things that can happen to the unborn child that will impact them even after birth, caused by improper eating and excessive exercise. Some of the main ones are:
- Low birth weight
- Growth retardation
- Neurological defects due to oxygen deprivation resulting from excess exercising
- Miscarriage or near miscarriage
Dangers for the Woman
Interestingly this can also impact the mother’s health as well. So while she is maintaining her weight she may not be getting adequate amounts of vital minerals and vitamins for her and her baby.
Some major problems include:
- If the mother isn’t getting enough calcium for example, her baby will pull what it needs. This means that the mother-to-be will end up with bone problems because of a lack of calcium.
- Increase likelihood of needing to have a c-section
- Emotional problems such as shame and embarrassment cause added issues for the woman leading to depression
Thankfully, the condition is now coming out of the closet so to speak as women speak about their problems. There are some signs to look out for to gauge whether a pregnant woman is going beyond trying to maintain a healthy weight.
To help prevent an expectant mother from developing the condition the following can help:
- Forming a supportive network for the mother-to-be
- Providing information on healthy weight gain during pregnancy
- Knowing the warning signs so as to provide intervention quickly.
Pregorexia is a real problem and unless something is done it will have major consequences in years to come.