Any kind of eating disorder, such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating can impact your ability to get pregnant. They may even make your pregnancy higher-risk. Severe weight loss can cause you to stop having regular periods, otherwise known as amenorrhea. Here are some ways in which eating disorders can affect your fertility:
Eating Disorders and Fertility
Sometimes, eating disorders can cause changes to the hormonal levels that occur and suppress both ovulation and menstruation. These are some problems that may occur due to eating disorders:
- Amenorrhea: Many women who are anorexic and have bulimia stop having their periods. The weight loss due to decrease in calories causes a suppression of hormones from the pituitary gland that are needed to maintain normal estrogen levels. Without normal levels of estrogen, ovulation does not take place and leads to infertility.
- Psychological Stress: Women with eating disorder may also experience stress due to personality traits, which lead to mental disorders such as obsessive compulsive disorder and depression. The stress of these psychological conditions may also contribute to menstrual problems and infertility.
- Excessive Exercise: Too much exercising is believed to cause a condition known as “female athlete triad”, which results in three conditions leading to infertility. These three conditions are amenorrhea, osteoporosis and an eating disorder.
- Obesity: Overeating is another disorder that can lead to infertility. In young women, obesity can lead to high levels of male hormones, known as androgens. This imbalance can cause abnormal menstrual cycles and block ovulation, leading to infertility.
Eating Disorder and Pregnancy
Some women with eating disorders do get pregnant, even though their fertility may be reduced. Your body will then need increased amounts of nutrients, such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals to support the growing baby. So in this case, women with eating disorders and their babies are at risk. The risks to a pregnant woman with eating disorder include:
- Heart problems
- Premature labor
The risks to baby include:
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
- Breathing problems
- Feeding problems
When women with eating disorders such as anorexia achieve ideal body weight, their regular periods usually resume within six months of doing so. It may also improve their fertility. If you, or someone you know, is struggling with an eating disorder, visit our experts at KIMS Cuddles. By meeting a nutritionist before pregnancy and by seeking therapy, you can improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and baby.
*Information shared here is for general purpose Please take doctors’ advice before taking any decision.