“As a woman with an eating disorder, I don’t think that you can go into pregnancy and have them be two mutually exclusive things. Like one is going to impact the other.” ~ Melissa.

Pregnancy can be a challenging time for all women, but it is particularly so for women with eating disorders or a history of an eating disorder. This page is designed to provide information and resources on how to navigate the pregnancy and postpartum process while you heal and to ensure your baby’s health.
By Hattie Rowe
West Virginia University

Breastfeeding is a unique and personal choice for every woman. The decision whether or not to breastfeed should be made by the mother, and not by her eating disorder. Research has shown that women who experience eating disorders and body image issues are less likely to initiate breastfeeding and more likely to wean their child sooner than average (Micali et al., 2009; Zerwas & Claydon, 2014; Claydon et al., 2014). Learn More

Breastfeeding While in Recovery

Recognizing Body Shame & Fat Talk

By Elizabeth Claydon

Body shame comes in so many forms and can manifest itself internally or externally. With the many nuances involved in body shame, I thought it time that it was broken down into a more easily-understood graphic depicted above. Learn More

By Hattie Rowe
West Virginia University

Getting the individual help you need for eating concerns is an essential step in moving towards healing. However, seeking treatment close to you can be challenging. Depending on your location, options may be limited, but there are always services available that can offer help in some way. This post offers advice and tips on how to search for local eating disorder treatment options. Learn More

How to Search for Eating Disorder Resources in Your Area

Shifting the eating disorder voice during pregnancy

By Hattie Rowe
West Virginia University

Major changes in life can be stressful for anyone. But for women who have struggled with eating disorders, adapting to changes may look more difficult. People who suffer from an eating disorder have unhealthy coping strategies related to their body. Whether these life changes induce stress or excitement, adjusting to something new can elicit anxiety at the unknown. Learn More

Many women who are recovering from an eating disorder or still have an eating disorder are very concerned about their children picking up on their behaviors or modeling their eating. Additionally, given the complicated relationship that someone has with food whether they have an eating disorder or are recovered from one, it is challenging to figure out how best to talk about eating and weight with children. Learn More

Creating a healthy relationship with food for your child

Coping Strategies from women who have been there

Adjusting to all the changes that come with pregnancy can be a challenging process even for women without an eating disorder or history of an eating disorder. Women who have had eating disorders identified a few areas that helped them better cope with pregnancy so that they could improve the process for themselves and their baby. Learn More

Weight gain and body shape changes can be very daunting during pregnancy especially for women who have an eating disorder or eating disorder history. However, it can be helpful to understand how the weight is attributed to the baby and how it is distributed. Being able to connect that weight gain specifically to the baby or pregnancy components can help the woman reframe the weight gain positively. Learn More

Weight Gain Distribution

Options for Weighing

Since weight and body image concerns are areas of concern for pregnant and postpartum women with eating disorders, it’s important to know the options around weighing whether you’re a patient or a clinician. Clinicians make these decisions around weighing on a case-by-case basis or have a conversation about weighing preferences at an early prenatal appointment. Patients may want to review this list to determine what options they feel most comfortable with and then engage their clinician in a conversation about their preference. Learn More

Relevant Blog Posts

Breastfeeding While in Recovery

Breastfeeding While in Recovery

Breastfeeding While in Recovery

By Hattie Rowe
West Virginia University

Breastfeeding is a unique and personal choice for every woman. The decision whether or not to breastfeed should be made by the mother, and not by her eating disorder. Research has shown that women who experience eating disorders and body image issues are less likely to initiate breastfeeding and more likely to wean their child sooner than average (Micali et al., 2009; Zerwas & Claydon, 2014; Claydon et al., 2014). (more…)

Recognizing Body Shame & Fat Talk

Recognizing Body Shame & Fat Talk

Recognizing Body Shame & Fat Talk

By Elizabeth Claydon

Body shame comes in so many forms and can manifest itself internally or externally. With the many nuances involved in body shame, I thought it time that it was broken down into a more easily-understood graphic depicted above. (more…)

How to tell your doctor

How to tell your doctor

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. (more…)

Options for Weighing

Options for Weighing

Options for Weighing

Since weight and body image concerns are areas of concern for pregnant and postpartum women with eating disorders, it’s important to know the options around weighing whether you’re a patient or a clinician. Clinicians make these decisions around weighing on a case-by-case basis or have a conversation about weighing preferences at an early prenatal appointment. Patients may want to review this list to determine what options they feel most comfortable with and then engage their clinician in a conversation about their preference. (more…)

Weight Gain Distribution

Weight Gain Distribution

Weight Gain Distribution

Weight gain and body shape changes can be very daunting during pregnancy especially for women who have an eating disorder or eating disorder history. However, it can be helpful to understand how the weight is attributed to the baby and how it is distributed. Being able to connect that weight gain specifically to the baby or pregnancy components can help the woman reframe the weight gain positively. (more…)

Creating a healthy relationship with food for your child

Creating a healthy relationship with food for your child

Creating a healthy relationship with food for your child

Many women who are recovering from an eating disorder or still have an eating disorder are very concerned about their children picking up on their behaviors or modeling their eating. Additionally, given the complicated relationship that someone has with food whether they have an eating disorder or are recovered from one, it is challenging to figure out how best to talk about eating and weight with children. (more…)

Coping strategies from women who have been there

Coping strategies from women who have been there

Coping Strategies from Women who have been there

Adjusting to all the changes that come with pregnancy can be a challenging process even for women without an eating disorder or history of an eating disorder. Women who have had eating disorders identified a few areas that helped them better cope with pregnancy so that they could improve the process for themselves and their baby. (more…)

Shifting the Eating Disorder Voice During Pregnancy

Shifting the Eating Disorder Voice During Pregnancy

Shifting the Eating Disorder Voice During Pregnancy

By Hattie Rowe
West Virginia University

Major changes in life can be stressful for anyone. But for women who have struggled with eating disorders, adapting to changes may look more difficult. People who suffer from an eating disorder have unhealthy coping strategies related to their body. Whether these life changes induce stress or excitement, adjusting to something new can elicit anxiety at the unknown. (more…)

Patient Quotes (all names are pseudonyms to protect the women’s real identities)

I’m a very instinct and driven person, so like once that whole like mama bear instinct took over, it was sort of like an inner fight between eating disorder and mama bear mindset. ~ Amelia, mother of one

You have to keep telling yourself over and over you know … this isn’t about you anymore like it’s never going to be about you again; it’s about this child. ~ Amelia, mother of one

I used to take like days off eating if I had a bad day … But it was like, you can’t do that anymore because it’s gonna, it’s gonna hurt your child and like to me like, that was super, super important … I was doing something I didn’t want to do for what is considered the greater good. ~ Amelia, mother of one

As a woman with an eating disorder, I don’t think that you can go into pregnancy and have them be two mutually exclusive things. Like one is going to impact the other. ~ Melissa

She was just very much loved and wanted and even though I couldn’t help but go through the exact same pattern. ~ Charlotte, mother of three

Although again, you know, when you’re gaining weight in pregnancy, it feels like it’s for a positive reason. ~ Rose

You don’t want to not eat because if you don’t eat then your baby’s not getting nutrition. It’s more than just about you at that stage. ~ Ruby