PARENTING
02/24/2015 01:48 pm ET Updated Feb 24, 2015

Why Cultural Expectations Are So Dangerous For Pregnant Women With Eating Disorders

There's a harmful dichotomy occurring in today's culture in which pregnant women struggling eating disorders receive "positive reinforcement" for losing weight postpartum, the director of programs at the National Eating Disorder Association told HuffPost Live on Monday.

NEDA director Claire Mysko explained to host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani that societal pressure to lose weight quickly after giving birth can be harmful to women who have struggled with eating disorders.

"'Baby bump' ... is really a media-coined term. This whole idea of, 'I have to get back to my pre-baby weight,' and all of these kinds of terms that we're hearing, it's becoming an expectation that that's gonna be the first thing that women should be concerned about during pregnancy," Mysko said.

Dr. Heather Anaya, a clinical assistant professor of material fetal medicine at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, pointed to other complications that can arise with disordered eating while pregnant, including hemorrhaging at the time of delivery, which eating disorder specialist Maggie Baumann experienced.

"When I was about to deliver my baby, I just started bleeding," said Baumann, who struggled with anorexia during her pregnancy. "I was very naive and thought it was the mucus plug. I didn't know, but I was bleeding, bleeding, bleeding, bleeding."

Click here to watch the full segment on struggling with an eating disorder while pregnant.

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