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Keywords:

  • bulimia nervosa;
  • anorexia nervosa;
  • pregnancy;
  • EDNOS;
  • binge eating disorder

Abstract

Objective

We explored the impact of eating disorders on birth outcomes in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study.

Method

Of 35,929 pregnant women, 35 reported broad anorexia nervosa (AN), 304 bulimia nervosa (BN), 1,812 binge eating disorder (BED), and 36 EDNOS-purging type (EDNOS-P) in the six months before or during pregnancy. The referent comprised 33,742 women with no eating disorder.

Results

Pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) was lower in AN and higher in BED than the referent. AN, BN, and BED mothers reported greater gestational weight gain, and smoking was elevated in all eating disorder groups. BED mothers had higher birth weight babies, lower risk of small for gestational age, and higher risk of large for gestational age and cesarean section than the referent. Pre-pregnancy BMI and gestational weight gain attenuated the effects.

Conclusion

BED influences birth outcomes either directly or via higher maternal weight and gestational weight gain. The absence of differences in AN and EDNOS-P may reflect small numbers and lesser severity in population samples. Adequate gestational weight gain in AN may mitigate against adverse birth outcomes. Detecting eating disorders in pregnancy could identify modifiable factors (e.g., high gestational weight gain, binge eating, and smoking) that influence birth outcomes. © 2008 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2009