Psychiatric Disorders in Pregnancy and the Postpartum

Part of the series Current Clinical Practice pp 179-196

Eating Disorders in Pregnancy and the Postpartum

Empirically Informed Treatment Guidelines
  • Debra L. FrankoAffiliated withDepartment of Counseling and Applied Educational Psychology, Northeastern University and Harvard Eating Disorders Center

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Eating disorders are most often diagnosed during the childbearing years. Pregnancy and postpartum issues for women with eating disorders are discussed with regard to symptoms, complications, course of pregnancy, delivery, breast-feeding, and postpartum depression (PPD). Research findings indicate that women with eating disorders during pregnancy may be at risk for a variety of pregnancy and obstetric complications. Moreover, there appears to be an association between eating-disorder symptoms and low birthweight as well as premature delivery. PPD is higher in women with eating disorders, and feeding issues have been documented. Assessment and treatment guidelines are presented to assist health care providers in caring for pregnant patients with eating disorders.

Key Words

Pregnancy eating disorders complications maternal weight gain low birthweight premature delivery breast-feeding postpartum depression