Generally speaking, diet, health and nutrition remain front and center of our culture’s media, I’ve seen little on disordered eating in the past several years, save one topic: “Pregorexia.” While disordered eating may be life threatening for the person with the disorder, this apparent rise in disordered eating during pregnancy, “pregorexia,” affects two or more people. As of the time of this writing, there is no actual diagnosis of “Pregorexia,” the actual diagnosis would be “Anorexia Nervosa.” Simply Google the term “Pregorexia,” and one will find a host of articles on the topic from bloggers, newspapers, and periodicals.
According to the media, a woman can be labeled “pregorexic” when she obsesses over the weight she is gaining as a result of being pregnant. (Pregorexic: Are Some Women Putting Their Fetuses At Risk?).
Symptoms to watch for:
- Preoccupation with weight
- Preoccupation with how you will look after the baby arrives
- Exercising too much
- Too little weight gain
- Restricting caloric intake
- Barely appearing pregnant
According to the March of Dimes, gaining too little weight while pregnant can adversely affect one’s baby by poor fetal growth, low birth weight, increased chance the baby will be born prematurely, and increased problems after birth. (marchofdimes.com)
While many in the media claim “celebrities” are to blame for the rise in pregorexia, other psychologists and counselors believe we make our own choices. Additionally, there is incredible pressure (and highly mixed messages) in our culture for women and their weight. Women go to shopping malls that contain the following stores; beauty school, a gym, and pizza place. Women are told to look beautiful, exercise all while eating fast food. Huh? Women are under pressure to be thin and look their best, but, no one makes me choose to starve myself (or binge, or purge, and so on.) If someone has a healthy perspective, photos of thin pregnant celebrities ought not matter.
Twenty years ago before I was a young mother I wanted the same trainers, chefs and nutritionists celebrity women had, so that I too could have my pre-baby body back quickly after giving birth. However, I already had an eating disorder, Anorexia Nervosa. Celebrities had nothing to do with my choices to eat less and exercise more. Those women, or the media for that matter, did not make me the way that I was. For me, my issues with food boiled down to power and control. I had felt at one point that my life was out of control and the only thing I had that I could control was food. I experienced my own therapy and healing, and now, 20 years later, I provide therapy to others, including women who would like to improve their relationship with food/get rid of their eating disorders/improve their self-esteem.
For some others, pregnancy and food remains an issue. For those I recommend first, please confide in your doctor. Next, find a therapist you feel comfortable working through these issues with.
Your child will grow up to thank you some day.
For more information, please contact Laura at Total Life Counseling, 407-248-0030.
NOTE: You can freely redistribute this resource, electronically or in print, provided you leave the authors contact information intact.