Disordered eating attitudes during pregnancy in mothers of newborns requiring Neonatal Intensive Care Unit admission: a case control study

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2015;28(14):1711-5. doi: 10.3109/14767058.2014.966675. Epub 2015 Mar 9.


Objective: The aim of the study was to assess disordered eating attitudes and other related factors in mothers of newborns requiring Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) admission compared to those of mothers who delivered healthy infants.

Methods: An anonymous self-report study conducted among 199 mothers of newborns hospitalized in NICU, and a control group of 127 mothers of healthy newborns. Eating Attitudes Test-26 (EAT-26) and a survey regarding other perinatal health issues were used.

Results: Women in the study group (SG) gained significantly less weight during pregnancy when compared to control group (CG; p = 0.001). There were fewer women with appropriate pre-gestational BMI in the SG (p = 0.052). Women who feared weight-gain during pregnancy were younger (p < 0.001) and had higher EAT-26 scores (p < 0.001). Women with EAT-26 scores >20 smoked significantly more often during their last pregnancy in the SG (p = 0.010). Cesarean section was more frequent in the SG (p = 0.017).

Conclusions: Disordered eating attitudes in gestation may significantly influence the pregnancy outcomes and newborns' health. Hence, it is vital for perinatal counseling and obstetrical care to focus on these issues to facilitate early diagnosis and intervention.

Keywords: Eating disorders; gestation; neonate; nutrition.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders* / diagnosis
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / etiology*
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / therapy
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal
  • Intensive Care, Neonatal
  • Logistic Models
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications* / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications* / epidemiology
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / etiology*
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / therapy
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Report
  • Weight Gain