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Impact of Maternal Eating disorders on children development

Although eating disorders are mainly developed during adolescence, it is also another challenging issue in some pregnant and lactating women.

Pregnancy is a very critical period for the fetus development and also the mother’s health. It is very common to see many people suffering from eating disorders such as Anorexia, Bulimia or other eating disorders not specified also suffer from certain nutritional deficiencies (1). Results have shown that some maternal nutritional deficiencies during pregnancy have an impact on a child’s development (2). The outcome on a child’s development may be irreversible in some cases depending on which trimester the mother may suffer from nutritional deficiencies.

Moreover, improper and insufficient nutrition due to eating disorders during pregnancy may also have an impact on the mother’s behavior, which in turn, has a higher risk of affecting mother-child’s relationship (3). Some women suffering from eating disorders even refuse to breastfeed their newborn, although Health Canada recommends pregnant women to breastfeed their baby up to 6 month of age exclusively to help them improve and strengthen their overall health during development and meet their nutritional requirements (4,5). Some pregnant women even develop maternal depression (post-partum depression) due to inadequate nutrition and the possibility of other factors (6).

In the long term, this negative mother-child relationship due to an unbalanced and insufficient nutritious diet during pregnancy and lactation may significantly affect your child’s behavior and cognitive processing, which could result in memory and learning difficulties in schools.

To help overcome this negative outcome on your child’s development, contact your SNC’s Registered Dietitian to help you control your eating patterns with proper coping mechanisms and having a recommended and proper diet. Remember to enjoy every moment of your pregnancy!

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20413694
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3607807/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28188472
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27889494
  5. http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/surveill/nutrition/commun/prenatal/exclusive-exclusif-eng.php
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28012571

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