The new buzzword pregorexia has developed as an alarming number of women are determined to keep their figures even during pregnancy. Moms to be speak proudly of not looking pregnant when viewed from behind - while wearing 'normal' jeans into the second trimester has become something of a badge of honour.
The new trend is inspired by magazines covered with thin celebrity moms with small baby bumps who fret about calories and exercise during the pregnancy and is fuelled by increasing amount of designer pregnancy wear. Mothers no longer hide in pregnancy smocks; instead, mothers have wide variety high-fashion, tight-fitting pregnancy wear to choose from. While they are trying to keep up their style and maintain figure, pregorexics are risking their health and that of their unborn child.
A baby will take the nutrients it needs from mother's stores and her daily intake, but this becomes problematic if mom's stores are already low. 'It's vital women know that pregnancy is no time to be starving yourself,' says Pat O'Brien, a consultant obstetrician at University College Hospital and the Portland Hospital in London. 'During the nine months it is in the womb the baby is growing faster than it ever will in later life.'
Specifically, pregorexics tend to cut down of dairy products which is essential for mom and baby. Major concerns are calcium from mother's teeth and bones taken for use by baby and could eventually lead to calcium and vitamin D deficiency. Cases of mothers and babies with bone disorder rickets have been reported.As well, the demand for iron (found in red meat) increases during pregnancy as women need around 50% more in order to make red blood cells for the fetus, placenta, and her own body.
This may lead anemia, which can make them light-headed, irritable and exhausted, and in extreme cases, cause heart palpitations.
Poor diet and extreme exercise in pregnancy also increase the risk of having a low birthweight baby. This is linked to a host of problems later in life, including heart disease, depression, poor growth and cognitive development as reported by Marsh.
Furthermore, as Rosie Dodds, policy researcher at the National Childbirth Trust explains, women who diet and over-exercise while pregnant could harm their chances of breastfeeding by depleting fat stores thought to be used in milk production.
Of course, putting on too much weight is problematic as well. If prior to pregnancy you're at a normal weight, 25-35 lbs weight gain is healthy.