Eating Disorders Linked To Long-Term Depression Risk For Mothers: Study

NDTV Food Desk (with inputs from ANI)  |  Updated: May 14, 2019 14:37 IST

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Eating Disorders Linked To Long-Term Depression Risk For Mothers: Study

Eating disorder before or during pregnancy may lead to long-term depression.

We all know that while losing weight, one must be very careful of what they include in their diet. A lot matters on what you eat, but more than that, a lot depends on how much you eat and when you eat. It is alright to indulge in decadent dishes once in a week (read: cheat meal) to keep yourself motivated and satisfied, but make sure you keep an eye on how much you consume and when do you consume. But if you are a pregnant woman, without a saying, you must keep a close watch on what you eat. This is because any kind of eating disorder and body image concerns before or during pregnancy may lead to long-term depression, as per a recent study. "We found that women who have had an eating disorder at any point before childbirth, even if it was years earlier in adolescence, were more likely to experience depressive symptoms during pregnancy and up to 18 years after the birth of their child," said the study's lead author Francesca Solmi.

(Also Read: Are You A Binge Eater Or Emotional Eater? Find Out Here!)

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Women who have had an eating disorder were more likely to experience depressive symptoms​.

As per the findings of the study, people with eating disorders may not completely recover as it is observed that eating disorders and depression usually happen at the same time. In previous studies, researchers found that depressive symptoms in new mothers with eating disorders may get better after the perinatal period; however, these studies were unable to have a long follow-up time to back their research that if there is an increased risk of depressive symptoms in same women who have had an eating disorder. 

In the current study, researchers found that women who have ever been diagnosed with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa may experience more depressive symptoms than those who had never been diagnosed with eating disorders.

"Depressive symptoms in mothers have been shown to be associated with a number of negative outcomes for their children, such as emotional and behavioural problems. It is, therefore, important to identify and treat eating disorders early, as these could be one potential cause of the depressive symptoms. We should also identify pregnant women with an eating disorder so that they can be provided with mental health support. This could benefit both mother and child in the long run," Solmi explained. 

Abigail Easter, one of the authors of the paper who developed training materials to help identify eating disorders in pregnancy, added: "There is a need for more training for practitioners and midwives on how to recognise eating disorders in pregnancy, which could help to reduce the long-term impact of mental ill-health."

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