Pregnancy and neonatal outcomes in women with eating disorders

Obstet Gynecol. 2005 Feb;105(2):255-60. doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000148265.90984.c3.


Objective: This study was initiated to examine pregnancy and neonatal outcomes in women with past or current eating disorders as compared with a control group.

Methods: Forty-nine nulliparous nonsmoking women previously diagnosed with eating disorders (24 anorexia nervosa, 20 bulimia nervosa, 5 eating disorders not otherwise specified) and 68 controls were recruited in early pregnancy. Data on antenatal complications, mode of delivery, and neonatal outcome variables were collected. For comparisons between groups 1-way analysis of variance or chi(2) test was used.

Results: Twenty-two percent of the patients had a verified relapse in eating disorders during pregnancy. Women with past or current eating disorders were at increased risk of hyperemesis (P < .01) and delivered infants with significantly lower birth weight (P < .01) and smaller head circumference (P < .001) as compared with controls. They were also at greater risk of delivering infants with microcephaly (P < .05) and small for gestational age infants (P < .05).

Conclusion: Pregnant women with past or active eating disorders seem to be at greater risk for delivering infants with lower birth weight, smaller head circumference, microcephaly, and small for gestational age.

Level of evidence: II-2.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anorexia Nervosa / diagnosis
  • Anorexia Nervosa / epidemiology
  • Bulimia / diagnosis
  • Bulimia / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Pregnancy, High-Risk*
  • Probability
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sweden / epidemiology