Eating disorders, fertility, and pregnancy: relationships and complications

J Perinat Neonatal Nurs. 2001 Sep;15(2):36-48; quiz 2 p following 82. doi: 10.1097/00005237-200109000-00004.


Women are becoming heavier with each generation although the ideal female image emphasizes slimness. This focus results in the development of eating disorders in a significant number of women. The most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Eating disorder behaviors during pregnancy are associated with complications such as preterm delivery, low birthweight, intrauterine growth restriction, Caesarean birth, and low Apgar scores. Increasing the understanding of eating disorders assists health care professionals to accurately assess and intervene to improve a woman's nutritional status, monitor eating behaviors that may negatively affect a woman's health and fertility, and promote positive outcomes during pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anorexia Nervosa / diagnosis
  • Anorexia Nervosa / nursing*
  • Anorexia Nervosa / prevention & control
  • Body Weight
  • Bulimia / diagnosis
  • Bulimia / nursing*
  • Bulimia / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Fertility
  • Humans
  • Nutritional Status
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications / nursing*
  • Pregnancy Complications / prevention & control
  • Prenatal Care / methods