In simple terms, pregorexia is the dangerous fear of gaining weight during pregnancy.  However, this new eating disorder can lead to mental retardation, cerebral palsy baby and even stillbirth. Although, many of us women, who have been pregnant, may have feared of gaining weight at one of point or another, it didn’t become an obsession. But, for some women it does.

The term pregorexia defines an eating disorder that is suffered during pregnancy and has to do with the fear of gaining weight. However, this term is still not found officially in the manual books of mental disorders, and it is not even a medical diagnosis yet used by specialists. The term, however, has coined the media, but that doesn’t mean it is not a real mental condition.

Studies in the United Kingdom already provide first hand-on data of its impact on the population,  7.6% of pregnant women who were studied had symptoms consistent with eating disorder, and 23.4% were very worried about their weight and shape.

The experts add that it is estimated that 30% of pregnant women are not gaining weight properly, but without an exact percentage, it cannot necessarily be attributed to the so-called pregorexia.

Thus, it appears that the question of obsessive cult of the physical body image and fear of weight gain due to social pressure is resulting in other types of eating disorders, adding on to bulimia and anorexia like drunkorexia (not eating to take alcohol you want, thus leveling the calories consumed), bigorexia or vigorexia (not sufficiently muscular)  and now, pregorexia.

What are the symptoms of Pregorexia

The symptoms may be similar to those who suffer bulimia or anorexia nervosa.   Below is a quick guideline to identify a possible pregnancy woman with pregorexia:

  • It is women who “do not talk about pregnancy as if it were real;
  • Obsessively count calories;
  • Try to always eat alone or skip meals;
  • Exercise or train excessively,
  • May even self-induce vomiting.
  • No increase no weight during pregnancy;
  • Loses weight during pregnancy.

Beware that in the first three months of pregnancy, these symptoms can be masked with those of pregnancy mainly with nausea and vomiting. Some women have problems depending on food types and may even lose their appetite.  Typically, these patients do not recognize their problem and also reject treatment. It’s very rare that spontaneously admit they have an eating behavioral problem.

As with other eating disorders, it is recomendable to family, friends and co-workers to be vigilant of pregorexic women, especially, if it is known that she’s a survivor of bulimia or anorexia in the past, does not gain weight gradually, or instead loses weight, contact the primary doctor or gynecologist who is seeing her.

If not detected, the consequences can be serious for the mother, but devastating for the baby.

Pregorexia: Excess or Too Little Gain Weight During Pregnancy

Pregnant women need to know that weight gain happens gradually for about 40 weeks, and depending on your diet, because you shouldn’t be eating literally for two, and your pre-pregnancy weight, your weight gain may vary from the average or what says in the books.  I am very petite, small boned, short and light weighed, and ended up gaining about 50 pounds or 24 kilos approximately, with each of my 3 pregnancies.  For some women, that may be excessive an increase of weight, but because I was light to begin with, my body needed more fat reserves to make my babies.

So basically, your body is wiser than you think, and you need to trust mother nature.  For those who worry excessively about increasing kilos or pounds, keep this guideline in mind:

  • a woman with low weight is normal to win between 13 and 18 kg, or 28 to 39 pounds approx.
  • an obese pregnant should gain as much from 5 to 9 kg, or 11 to 10 pounds approx.
  • normal weight women, the standard is 11 to 16 kg, or 24 to 35 pounds approx.

About The Author

My real job in life is raising my 3 kids and having a nice, healthy and active family life. Along the way, I realized that motherhood didn’t come with a manual and frequently asked questions so I had to learn my way through with the help and advice of other mothers and that is how I decided to start a blog about tips for busy moms, The Moms Buzz, a lifestyle blog about only the buzz that matters. Modern moms are busy busy, and whatever tips make our lives easier we are ready to try them, we don’t have the time to read and read lengthy advices, but we can certainly read 1-2-3-SOLVED. Adriana is also the founder of ModaPreviewInternational.com and an established fashion/portrait photographer.

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