How to tell your Doctor
Telling your doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional about your eating disorder (whether past or present) can feel overwhelming. Often, it might have been a secret that you have kept from even those closest to you. However, it is important that your clinicians have all the information about your medical history so that they can help you during and after your pregnancy.
Tell them Early
Telling your clinician early in the pregnancy helps relieve stress around the disclosure of your eating disorder (or eating disorder history) and also allows for the best outcomes for pregnancy. Try telling them at your first or second prenatal appointment.
Write it Down
Write down what you want to say before you meet with your clinician so you know what you will say. Be concise but thorough with the information they will need about your diagnosis, when it started, when you recovered (if applicable), and any concerns you have about pregnancy or postpartum related to your eating disorder.
Take someone with you
If you will feel more comfortable, take your partner or friend to the appointment where you will tell your doctor. Some people might feel more comfortable speaking alone to a provider about this, whereas others would prefer the support.
Be sure to talk to your provider at preferences when you tell them about your eating disorder. This can include preferences about weighing (see our resource about weighing options), language around weight/body size, and how to address a potential situation if the doctor is concerned that you are not gaining weight quickly enough or are gaining weight too quickly.
Don’t Be Afraid to Change
If your healthcare professional does not seem comfortable treating someone with an eating disorder during pregnancy or in postpartum, do not hesitate to seek another provider if you can. You want to make sure that you have a good relationship with your provider so that you can receive optimal health care and support during this time. Another option is to ensure that you have a team in place with a therapist, dietitian, or other providers who can support you with eating disorder treatment and communicate as needed with your obstetrician/midwife/nurse.