Eating disorder symptoms in pregnancy: A prospective study




Previous work suggests that eating disorder symptoms diminish with pregnancy. However, little prospective study has been conducted, and little is known about pregnancy symptoms in eating disorder not otherwise specified.

This research prospectively studies both eating behaviors and disordered eating cognitions in pregnant women with various eating disorder diagnoses.


Forty-two participants became pregnant during 4-year follow-up of 385 women with full or subthreshold anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge eating disorder. Participants completed the Eating Disorders Examination (EDE) at 6-month intervals. Mixed modeling procedures were used to examine change in eating disorder cognitions, binge eating, and purging.


EDE restraint, EDE shape concerns, EDE weight concerns, binge eating, and purging diminished from prepartum to intrapartum, but returned to approximately baseline levels postpartum.


In this longitudinal sample of women with diverse eating disorder diagnoses, eating disorder symptoms improved during pregnancy, but worsened postpartum. These results highlight pregnancy as a potential time for eating disorder interventions. © 2007 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2008