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Keywords:

  • maternal adjustment;
  • eating disorders;
  • depression

Abstract

Objective:

To study early adaptation to motherhood in mothers with eating disorders (ED) before pregnancy.

Method:

Forty-four nulliparous nonsmoking women with ED before pregnancy (24 anorexia nervosa, 20 bulimia nervosa) and 67 controls were recruited from the same prenatal clinics. Three months after delivery, the women completed the maternal adjustment and maternal attitude questionnaire (MAMA) and were asked about mental health problems postpartum.

Results:

Ninety-two percent of mothers with ED before pregnancy reported problems regarding their maternal adjustment compared to 13% in the control group (p < 0.001), whereas there were no differences between the subgroups of ED and between those with and without verified relapse of ED during pregnancy. Fifty percent of mothers with previous ED reported that they had been in contact with health services after delivery because of depression or other mental problems and these women had significantly higher MAMA score than patients not reporting such contact with health services (p < 0.001).

Conclusion:

Adjustment to motherhood was clearly impaired and related to mental problems in mothers with ED before pregnancy. © 2008 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2008