This isn’t a topic I have touched on much because pregnancy isn’t something that I’m comfortable with; I don’t plan on having children and, frankly, pregnancy freaks me out. However, I was looking at the “everything” tab on Pinterest and I saw something that prompted me to post about this. It was a picture of fit, fairly thin pregnant people wearing workout gear. The caption said, “How to lose body fat while pregnant,” which I immediately reported for promoting self-harm because that is pregorexia.

What pregorexia is, basically, is anorexia during pregnancy and postpartum. It has symptoms similar to anorexia: obsessive dieting, extreme exercising, abuse of weight loss drugs and/or laxatives, etc era.  Approximately 5% of pregnant people suffer from this desire not to gain the weight recommended by their doctors during their pregnancy and also may try to lose weight.

Babies born to parents who suffer from pregorexia can suffer from: premature birth, low birth weight, anemia, ADHD, rickets, heart disease, depression, poor growth, cognitive development impairment.

So, basically, suggesting to a pregnant person that they should try to lose “body fat” while pregnant, offering tips on how they can do that, is harmful to both the pregnant person and the fetus. It’s one of the worst things that you can tell someone who is currently pregnant or who is postpartum.



8 thoughts on “Pregorexia

  1. Shel says:

    Yes! My mother told me to “be careful you aren’t gaining too much weight” while I was pregnant. I actually lost weight for the first few months because my mornin (noon and night) sickness was so bad. But after that, altogether I only gained 20lbs, which I think is average. My midwife never told me I needed to “watch myself.”

    • That’s so ridiculous. Unless a _trained medical professional_ says you need to watch your weight, you don’t. I hate how weight-obsessed our society at whole is. According to my research, the recommended weight to _gain_ is 25-35lbs.

  2. I barely gained any weight at all while I was pregnant, but that was because I was in the middle of a divorce, stressed and dirt-poor so I couldn’t even *afford* to eat properly – so I was losing weight as R grew, but I had no way of knowing that (after yet another bout with ED before pregnancy I refused to buy bathroom scales). By the time R was born I’d lost more than 21lbs – and yes, R was premature and low birthweight. He has symptoms of ADHD too, but I think that’s more genetic than anything given my family history (and I spent most of my life not realising that I’m autistic as well).

    I can’t imagine wanting to lose weight while pregnant. I wanted a nice big round healthy bump to show the world, but I had to go hungry too often and never through choice.

    • I’m so sorry that you lost weight while pregnant because you were unable to afford food and stressed out. That’s really terrible. It does definitely sound like the ADHD is genetic. Also, I hope this post didn’t upset you.

      I can imagine it if you’re already suffering from an eating disorder or if you’re prone to it. Pregnancy does so many strange and scary things to your body. So I can relate wanting to regain control over it. However, people who WANT to lose weight during pregnancy really need to seek help before they make themselves and/or their babies sick.

      • The post didn’t upset me at all; I think it’s vital to raise awareness of this issue – I’d certainly never heard of it.

        If people knew what it was like to be forced to go hungry when a new life is growing inside you, they wouldn’t be telling pregnant women to watch their weight. Obviously gentle exercise is important and some foods need to be avoided, but dieting? That’s insane!

      • I’m glad it didn’t upset you. I hadn’t heard of the term until a few months ago when it was mentioned on some news thing. The term “pregorexia” is apparently a new word but the eating disorder itself isn’t new. I had to research a little bit on the subject since I didn’t know enough to really write on it so I read about statistics and symptoms.

        Definitely. People need to lay off on the “omg you’re pregnant, you need to watch your weight!” Society really disgusts me in that regard because there’s just no one who’s good enough and pregnancy DEFINITELY should get you a free card to gain weight because it is RECOMMENDED by doctors to GAIN weight while pregnant for the health of the fetus and yourself.

  3. A good healthcare practitioner would counsel about the need for healthy nutrition to support the growing baby and the mother who’s body has increased stress burden from pregnancy. With increased burden of physical stress it is far more important to eat a very healthy diet, and exercise in moderation.

    My own issue was high intensity exercise in the last trimester, which most likely caused a blood clot in the cord or the placenta, and my daughter was born emergently having lost weight in utero. I was fortunate as I had closely monitored her movement and noted she wasn’t moving. After they delivered her she was resuscitated and is fine, but had I waited any longer she would not have lived.

    We shouldn’t be so vain about our bodies while pregnant, but focus on staying healthy with a gentle balance of exercise and proper nutrition.

    • This is very true. There is a fine line between eating healthy and dieting, the latter of which is not recommended during pregnancy (except for extreme cases). Moderate exercise is a good thing, yes; good for the baby and mother.

      Oh, wow. I’m sorry that you and your daughter had such a hard time. It’s very, very fortunate that you were monitoring her closely. I’m glad that you’re both okay now. Thank you for sharing your story.

      I wish that society would just back off the pressure about being skinny, skinny, skinny, skinny until you’re unhealthy, regardless of pregnant status. I find it disgusting in its entirety that we’re constantly told that our bodies aren’t good enough, which breeds eating disorders and body image issues.

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