Anorexia nervosa and motherhood: Reproduction pattern and mothering behavior of 50 women


Mette Brinch, M.D. Senior Registrar Magdelonevej 9 DK 2400 Copenhagen NV Denmark


ABSTRACT— A follow-up carried out on an average 12.5 years after hospital contact of 151 patients with a former diagnosis of anorexia nervosa (AN), aimed at reproduction outcome. None of the 11 males had children. Fifty of the 140 women had given birth to a total of 86 children, which is approximately one third of the expected fertility. Involuntary childlessness was of the same size as found in the background population. The rate of prematurity among the offspring was twice the expected and perinatal lethality six times the expected. Mentally the mothers did well, both during pregnancy and the post partum period. They breast-fed their children for the same mean time as did other women, and the development of the children did not differ from that found in a background population. More women in the group of mothers than in the group of non-mothers had better scores of allround functioning at follow-up.