Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What is Pregorexia?

Have you ever heard of anorexia or bulemia or exercise addiction? Pregorexia is very rare but very real. It's those behaviors that are damaging to the growing fetus because they promote the gain of TOO LITTLE WEIGHT in pregnancy. If you find yourself counting calories all the time, skipping meals, hitting the gym for a vigorous workout with a dangerously high heart rate ( over 140 bpm ) everyday, you may be at high risk. Do you find yourself preferring to catching meals alone so no one is going to scrutinize your eating habits? Are you consulting the charts published everywhere, it seems, informing you about how much you should gain and at which point in the pregnancy? Have you decided ahead of time that since you were overweight anyway, you don't need to follow your provider's guidelines for weight gain so you can actually weigh less after you deliver? Are you withholding the fact that you are pregnant from significant others or even yourself?

Most women are very proud of their expanding waistline and baby pooch. These signify to the world that you are expecting a baby and that you consider it a great thing. In fact, most pregnant women gain too much weight when they are pregnant. In the first trimester women may actually lose and that's common the first twelve weeks or so. After that first trimester  and all the nausea and vomiting that may accompany it, there is a good reason to eat. Maybe not enough for two, but enough ( following nutritional guidelines specific to your pregnancy ) to nourish the fetus and allow for her necessary growth and development.

Warning signs of pregorexia are no joke and should be disclosed to a trusted healthcare provider. Sometimes women with a history of an eating disorder or those who have struggles with body image issues for whatever reason may be more at risk. Also more at risk are women without positive and supportive  social support systems. Partners who are critical of your changing shape, ( grand ) mothers who are weight obsessed, even jealous friends are not helpful when they talk about your weight gain in pregnancy. These folks shouldn't ever comment on your weight, pregnant or not, and those "helpful" people in the line at the grocery store have no business wondering if you are carrying twins, inquiring about when the baby is due or wondering if you aren't awfully big for your due date.

Just as anyone with a concern about weight gain that's appropriate, exercise within limits, or any questions about how to do your best for your baby pre- delivery, there are many resources available to you. Your provider is the best source for information about nutritionists, pregnancy exercise programs and counselors to discuss issues that may prevent you from gaining too little, but not too much.