Eating disorders during pregnancy

Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2013 Apr;68(4):312-23. doi: 10.1097/OGX.0b013e31828736b9.


Eating disorders during pregnancy, once thought to be rare, occur in a significant number of women. The incidences of the major eating disorders-anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa-are increasing because of cultural pressures on the drive for thinness. Because the age range for these major eating disorders overlaps with the age range for reproductive function, it is not unusual for a clinician to encounter a pregnant patient with a major eating disorder. Eating disorders attributable to the pregnant state include pregnancy sickness, pica, and ptyalism. The diagnostic criteria, etiology, nutritional behavioral influences, evolutionary psychological considerations where elucidated, and treatment of these disorders will be presented.

Target audience: Obstetricians and gynecologists, family physicians

Learning objectives: After completing this CME activity, physicians should be better able to review how the major eating disorders impact pregnancy, to diagnose eating disorders during pregnancy using the diagnostic criteria, and to treat eating disorders during pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anorexia Nervosa / diagnosis
  • Anorexia Nervosa / epidemiology
  • Anorexia Nervosa / psychology
  • Anorexia Nervosa / therapy
  • Bulimia Nervosa / diagnosis
  • Bulimia Nervosa / epidemiology
  • Bulimia Nervosa / psychology
  • Bulimia Nervosa / therapy
  • Causality
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression, Postpartum / epidemiology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Pica / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / diagnosis*
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy Complications / psychology
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy*
  • Prevalence
  • Young Adult