Study: Anorexia Increases Unplanned Pregnancy, Abortion Risks

Women with anorexia nervosa have more unplanned pregnancies and abortions

While abortion may not be a factor that often causes mental distress for women, the chances of a woman with an eating disorder having an abortion far exceeds that of a woman who does not have an eating disorder.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill noticed that anorexic women are more likely to become pregnant without planning to, and also to have an abortion than women without an eating disorder.

In a study analyzing information on more than 62,000 women, researchers found 62 women to be anorexic.

What researchers noticed was that women with anorexia nervosa encountered unplanned pregnancies more frequently, and became pregnant an average of three years sooner than women without the disorder. Additionally, abortion rates were about 10 percent higher in anorexic women.

The study can be found in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Experts believe part of the increased occurrence of unplanned pregnancies among anorexic women is the fact that many experience irregular menstrual cycles, leading to the assumption that pregnancy is not possible. Instead, this can severely hinder the health of the mom and the would-be baby.

Anorexic behavior should not be used as birth control, experts urge.