Bulimia symptoms and other risk behaviors during pregnancy in women with bulimia nervosa




The current study examined the change in bulimic symptoms as well as alcohol, drug, and tobacco use during pregnancy in subjects with bulimia nervosa.


A self-report questionnaire was used to collect retrospective data on eating disorder symptoms and substance use during pregnancy from 129 participants in a long-term study of bulimia nervosa. Follow-up data were collected for a total of 322 pregnancies occurring over a 10–15-year period.


Overall, subjects reported that body dissatisfaction worsened, but binge eating and purging improved during pregnancy. However, the number of women completely abstinent from bulimic symptoms did not change significantly with pregnancy. Body esteem often worsened with pregnancy, particularly for women with active bulimia symptoms. Self-reported alcohol use significantly declined with pregnancy.


In general, bulimia nervosa symptoms decreased during pregnancy, although the number of women completely abstinent did not change significantly. © 2004 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 36: 220–223, 2004.