There is no use denying the fact that your life undergoes a lot of changes once you are pregnant, whether you like it or not. After all, you are bringing a new life to this world by choice, and that will bring about certain changes in your lifestyle. What seemed just another casual or trivial affair a few days before might now lead to very serious consequences and therefore, you will have to think twice before any action you take. Most of us are aware of the common things that we should avoid while carrying a baby like smoking, drinking, self-medication and so on. But there are a host of other things that we must be careful about during pregnancy too, which we probably are not aware of. Binge eating disorder is one such problem that can prove to be fatal during pregnancy. But before we jump into the details of the effects of binge eating disorder during pregnancy, it would be wise to begin from the scratch.
Binge Eating Disorder: 11 Serious Effects During Pregnancy
What is an eating disorder?
According to the dictionary, any of a range of psychological disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating habits is known as an eating disorder. Statistics have proven that eating disorders are estimated to affect almost 9% of the population in australian and the rate is continuously increasing. Surprisingly enough, almost 15% of australian women suffer from an eating disorder during their lifetime. Eating disorders can happen irrespective of one’s sex, age, caste, financial background and so on.
The diagnostic statistical manual iv (dsm iv) recognizes four distinct types of eating disorders, namely:
- Bulimia nervosa
- Anorexia nervosa
- Binge eating disorder
- Other specified feeding and eating disorders (osfed)
- Out of these, our main focus on this article will be on the third type, binge eating disorder.
What is binge eating disorder?
Binge eating disorder, known as bed, is a serious and life-threatening, eating disorder which is characterized by recurrent and sudden episodes of eating large quantities of food (often so rapidly that it reaches a point of discomfort); a helplessness of not being able to control the urge of binge-eating, accompanied by shame, distress or guilt later; and sometimes using unhealthy and illogical compensatory measures (like throwing up) to counter the act. It is recorded to be the most common eating disorder in the united states.
Pregnancy and binge eating
You particularly need to be more careful if you are suffering from binge eating disorder and you are pregnant. For you and your baby to remain healthy during this period you might need some extra support to control this problem and do away with it. It is totally normal for some women to eat more food than usual when they are pregnant. However, eating a lot of food even when a person is not hungry and that too on a regular basis can be alarming and detrimental both for the mother as well as the unborn child.
Effects of binge eating disorder during pregnancy on health
Binge eating during pregnancy does not only take a toll on the health of the mother but also affects the health of unborn child in more ways than one. Some of these effects are discussed below:
Abnormal weight gain
Binge eating during pregnancy leads to an abnormal gain in weight of the mother which might prove to be fatal later on. This leads to increase in the weight of the foetus as well resulting in the baby’s weight being more than usual during delivery. It might also cause hindrances in the normal delivery of the baby and require a c-section.
Over-eating during pregnancy increases the chance of development of gestational diabetes which means that the body is unable to produce or make use of insulin as required which results in elevated blood sugar levels. This, if left unattended, can affect the baby’s health as well.
High birth weight of the child
If the mother, while carrying her baby gains a lot of weight, it is likely that the baby too will be born with a weight higher than the usual. In such cases, during delivery, the baby can damage the mother’s birth canal. The baby’s shoulders might also get damaged during delivery.
Heartburn and discomfort
These are already existing problems that almost all expecting mothers experience during pregnancy. Binge eating only aggravates these problems, making it extremely uneasy for the mother.
High blood pressure
Overeating even when the mother is not hungry might result in increased blood pressure which in turn risks the proper functioning of the blood. Rising of the mother’s blood pressure result obviously has negative effects on the health of the foetus as well.
Infections after delivery
Binge eating during pregnancy might also lead to several unwanted infections during or after delivery of the baby.
Since gain in weight of the mother results in gain in weight of the foetus too, if the weight becomes too much, there arises chances that the baby might have to developed prematurely. Premature delivery of the baby puts him/her at the risk of several problems such as respiratory distress syndrome, jaundice, eye and lung problems and so on.
Birth defects in the baby
Unnecessary over-eating during pregnancy might result in various birth defects in the baby after being born.
Lack of exercise
Binge eating during normal times can sometimes be compensated by vigorous exercises to prevent being overweight. However, during pregnancy, especially during the advanced stages, exercising like normal times is often not possible. Hence the effects are more severe during pregnancy.
This is a condition that happens due to excess deposit of protein in urine as a result of binge eating. This also causes the level of blood pressure to rise and can be dangerous for both the baby and the mother.
Long labour time
Excess binge eating also clogs several organs which causes several problems during delivery of the baby. A labour time longer than usual leads to health problems both for the mother and for the baby.
Thus, as the proverb goes, “prevention is better than cure” it is always advisable and wise to try and control binge eating right from when you are planning pregnancy!