The likelihood of a woman with anorexia nervosa to have an unwanted pregnancy and have an abortion is far greater than that of a woman without the eating disorder, researchers at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill discovered.
Generally, anorexic women either have irregular menstrual cycles, or do not have a menstrual period at all. This may be one reason they believe they cannot get pregnant, resulting in a greater occurrence of unplanned pregnancies.
Doctors explain women should not use anorexia as a form of contraception. Also, conversing with young women with anorexia about contraception should not be overlooked by any physician.
Screening pregnant women for certain eating disorders during prenatal visits may be something to keep in mind as well.
This study, published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, analyzes data on over 62,000 women. In all, 62 women claimed to have anorexia nervosa.
Shocking differences were present when comparing women with and without this disorder. Women with anorexia were, on average, three years younger when delivering the first baby. About 50 percent of women with anorexia explained pregnancies to be unplanned compared to less than 20 percent of women without the disorder. Also, nearly 25 percent of anorexic women claimed having an induced abortion, while less than 15 percent of women without the disorder did.