In a study of more than 11,000 women, a team of researchers from King’s College London and University College London have found that 39.5% of women who had a history of bulimia or anorexia took longer than six months to fall pregnant. In addition, these women were also more likely to require fertility treatment, with 6.2% of women with an eating disorder history needing the treatment compared to just 2.7% of the general population.
Lead researcher Dr Abigail Easter commented that despite eating disorders delaying conception, a high number of unplanned pregnancies suggest that the women affected are significantly underestimating their chances of falling pregnant.
Dr Easter recommends that women who are planning conception seek treatment for their eating disorder prior to trying for a baby. She also recommends that health professionals become more aware of eating disorders then whey are assessing fertility and treating women.
Spokeswomen Mary George from the eating disorders charity Beat, has said that women who do have an eating disorder often don’t consider the health implications that it may cause in the future.
Preventing the body from consuming all of the nutrients it needs could lead to illness, and mothers wishing to fall pregnant should seek help for any symptoms which may be indicative of an eating disorder as early on a possible.
If you or someone you know are affected by an eating disorder and you would like to find out more, please visit our eating disorder fact-sheet for further information.