Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Bulimia Nervosa Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Bulimia Increases Risk of Miscarriage, Premature Delivery


WebMD Health News

July 11, 2000 -- Women with bulimia nervosa are at higher risk for complications if they become pregnant, a study presented last week at the Royal College of Psychiatrists meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland, reveals. But pregnancy actually may be a good time to treat the eating disorder, experts say.

Bulimia typically involves cycles of binge eating and vomiting, laxative use, and/or excessive exercise.

"Women with active bulimia have higher rates of miscarriage and premature delivery than women who have had bulimia in the past, but aren't currently experiencing symptoms," John Morgan, MD, tells WebMD. "Since bulimia is the most common eating disorder, affecting roughly one in 20 women, this is a problem obstetricians and women themselves need to be more aware of." Morgan, the study's lead researcher, is a psychiatrist at St. George's Hospital Medical School in London.

However, there is a silver lining to the cloud of potential complications. "Previous research of ours suggests that by the third trimester of pregnancy, almost all women are virtually binge-free, so pregnancy is a window of opportunity to engage bulimic women in treatment," Morgan says. "Most women with bulimia will talk about their disorder with a health provider if they're asked the right questions, and they respond very well to treatment once they are identified."

Debra Franko, PhD, program director of the Eating Disorders Center at Harvard Medical School, concurs. "My clinical experience is that most women with bulimia shift their focus from themselves to their baby, and start engaging in healthier eating habits as a result," she tells WebMD. "However, afterward they may experience additional problems, so this may be a time to be very vigilant."

The study used a questionnaire to ask nearly 125 women who had active bulimia during their first pregnancy about their experience. The same questionnaire was administered to more than 80 women who had had bulimia in the past, but were not experiencing symptoms during their first pregnancy.

In addition to miscarriage and early delivery, women with active bulimia also appear to be at higher risk for developing diabetes during pregnancy and experiencing postpartum depression. More birth defects also were seen in the group with active symptoms.

"If women know they have bulimia, they should be told that their pregnancy is much more likely to be successful if they are not experiencing symptoms during it," says Mark Blais, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. "Their obstetrician should be asking questions about weight loss or fluctuation during pregnancy as well."

Today on WebMD

Bulimia Nervosa Symptoms
Article
Fibro Common Misdiagnoses
Article
 
Bulimia Nervosa Treatment Overview
Article
Bulimia Nervosa What Happens
Article
 
teen girl in bad mood
Article
Young woman sitting on floor eating from fridge
Article
 
Woman consoling depressed friend
Article
mother talking to daughter
Article
 

WebMD Special Sections