Thursday, February 21, 2008
Medical Reports: Purging During Pregnancy
Most pregnant moms embrace their growing bellies, but doctors say those who purge during pregnancy can have deadly consequences for a developing baby.
WSVN -- For many moms-to-be, pregnancy is the chance to eat what they want and gain weight without guilt, but not for Michelle Smith.
Michelle Smith: "I was extremely afraid to gain the weight."
Michelle was excited about the baby girl developing inside her, but she despised her growing belly.
Michelle Smith: "I couldn't look at myself, I couldn't look at my stomach."
Desperate to keep the weight off, she started cutting down on what she ate.
Michelle Smith: "I would only eat the things that I didn't think that would make me gain the weight."
When that didn't work, she fell back on the eating disorder that she had secretly battled years before.
Michelle Smith: "I purged every day. I really did want to stop the purging, but I didn't know how to stop."
Most women are advised to gain 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. Michelle only gained ten.
Michelle Smith: "I was really able to hide that I was purging because I told everyone I was having morning sickness around the clock."
But, as time went by, she couldn't hide the fact her unborn baby was in trouble.
Michelle Smith: "I almost lost her because of the eating disorder."
Lynn Martinez: "Surprisingly, Michelle's story is not that rare. Doctors say they are seeing an increase in pregnant women with eating disorders, even if they have no prior history. They blame society's pressure to be thin.
Dr. Deborah Radzwill: "We are seeing many women in their 30s, 40s, 50s and even 60s presenting with eating disorders."
And it can have devastating effects for mom and baby.
Dr. Jason James: "I would say the worst case scenario for women who are purging is miscarriage or stillbirth."
Michelle got lucky, she had a healthy baby girl. She's now getting treatment for her eating disorder, but nothing can erase the guilt she feels for putting her baby in danger.
Michelle Smith: "I live with that every day. The eating disorder mind is more powerful than your mind telling you that you may lose the baby."
Lynn Martinez: "Doctors advise pregnant women with a history of eating disorder to seek medical and psychological help, so they don't have a relapse."