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Eating disorder symptoms pre- and postpartum

Abstract

The study aimed to investigate symptoms of disordered eating pre- and postpartum using a standardised and widely used measure of eating disorder (ED) psychopathology. A consecutive series of women attending either prenatal (N = 426) or postnatal (N = 345) clinics in metropolitan Stockholm were assessed using the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q). Assessments were conducted at either the first visit to prenatal clinics (10–12 weeks of pregnancy) or 6 to 8 months postpartum. An optimised shortened version of the EDE-Q was best suited for studying eating disorders pre- and postpartum. Using the optimised version of the instrument with 14 items and a cut-off score of ≥2.8, it was estimated that 5.3 % of prepartum and 12.8 % of postpartum mothers were suffering from clinical eating disorders. Seriously disordered eating behaviour during, and especially after, pregnancy may be more common than previously thought. It is imperative that health services focus increased attention on these problems by raising awareness, developing and extending specialist services, as well as through implementing educational programmes and training directed toward frontline healthcare services.

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Correspondence to David Clinton.

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Ethical approval for the study was obtained from relevant authorities, and all participants provided informed consent.

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Pettersson, C.B., Zandian, M. & Clinton, D. Eating disorder symptoms pre- and postpartum. Arch Womens Ment Health 19, 675–680 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00737-016-0619-3

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Keywords

  • Disordered eating
  • Eating disorders
  • EDE-Q
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence