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Pregnant friend not eating properly

(7 Posts)
helenlouisey Tue 07-Jul-09 21:30:01

Please help, my best friend is 4 months pregnant and I'm worried she's not eating properly. She has always been very consious of her weight and I think boarding on anorexia. I know she is already hating having a small baby bump and not eating what she should be. Her husband won't say anything to her as doesn't want to upset her, but I'm scared she's going to be harming the baby. Can anyone help me find some information on where she can get some help and the importance of eating properly in pregnancy. Thanks

thisisyesterday Tue 07-Jul-09 21:33:38

well why dsoesn't her husband have a chat with her midwife?

aside from that, the baby will be getting all it needs. it's your friwend that will suffer. her body will feed baby first and her second so please don't worry about that.

she does, of course, need to look after herself though

hester Tue 07-Jul-09 21:50:49

I think you should tell her you're concerned and why, then tell her you love her and that is why you're speaking up, offer her any help she needs and wants, and then back off.

She may be grateful to you, she may not. But I think you should take the risk. I was anorexic for many years, and IME more harm was done by people pussyfooting around the issue than by people telling me straightforwardly that they had noticed and that they cared. Even if I told them they were ridiculous and rejected their offers of help, inside I was pathetically grateful that they cared (anorexics have trouble believing in, or accepting, others' love and concern).

Good luck.

crumpette Wed 08-Jul-09 08:49:31

Hi, I was anorexic from childhood through my teens (the extreme deathly type who ended up with a bmi of 8.9), anyway, I found my eating was still a bit patchy (I had 'recovered' by then but had certain food phobias) until I got pregnant with my first, and all my issues vanished. I thought of it as eating for the baby to keep her well, and again when I was breastfeeding I ate loads, because a. I was hungry and b. it was for her. If you can somehow make her see that all this food isn't going to her but is for the baby, so she's in a way (I know this sounds mad) feeding someone else, it may help. I haven't looked up official research but I remember someone losing their baby at 5 months pregnant due to anorexia. If you are sufficiently malnourished your body cannot cope with sustaining a baby, simple as that. I'm sure your friend wants a healthy little baby at the end, so I'd say do no ignore the issue, sit her down, talk to her (nicely) and state that she isn't eating for her now it's for her baby, at least until her baby is outta there.
She doesn't have to eat loads, but she does need regular balanced meals and proper vitamins, also an omega 3 supplement would help.
Don't try force-feeding her or staging large interventions, just make it clear that you know her problems and you understand(even though people can't really understand unless they've been anorexic themselves) but say that this is only a few months of her whole life where she has to prioritise this little baby.

dal21 Wed 08-Jul-09 09:11:56

Hi - as someone with a background of anorexia, I tend to agree with the advice given by Crumpette and Hester.

For me when pregnant with DS, bub became the priority and fortunately no one needed to step in. But if they did, i think the following things would have helped.

People being direct and telling me they were worried. She needs to understand that this is only a very temporary period in her life and she will be able to lose the weight afterwards.
If she is worried about the weight gain and doesnt understand how to eat healthily, then a visit to a nutrionist may help. Balanced regular meals are the key.

I would imagine that her biggest fear is starting to eat normally and suddenly losing control and becoming the size of a whale. And only she can get her head round that.

Can I ask, has she ever admitted to having issues with food?

Nekabu Wed 08-Jul-09 09:23:54

I agree with the posters who say you should say something. Whilst the baby will take what it needs from her body if what it needs isn't there, then it can't take it. If it has been able to take some of what it needs and she's not replenishing it, then she's not going to be very well ...

Whilst far from anorexic myself (greedy heifer with a fat bum!) I haven't liked putting on weight during pregnancy either but have eventually come to an attitude of stuff it, I'm not shovelling vast quantities down my gullet doing the 'baby-wants-cake-baby-wants-pizza-baby-wants-biscuits' thing so I'm sure I will lose it afterwards and will just put up and shut up in the meantime as it's not like the baby can nip out for a quick snack if I'm not providing it with the nutrition it needs!

barbigirl Fri 10-Jul-09 16:31:00

I think a lot of this is good advice but would like to offer the opposite point of view.

If she is food conscious, boardering on anorexic she's probably quite aware/ read up on exactly what the baby needs and the last thing she needs to be told is that she's being a bad mum. In all likelihood, she's probably very mindful of the fact that she could harm her baby- I doubt anyone would not realise this. She may in her head be eating just the right amount so that the baby is 100% but that she doesn't put on any significant weight.

So, in that context, telling her that she's jeopardising her baby is massive- particularly as you have no real proof, it's just your perception. If her issues with food are profound, talking about what's good for her isn't going to work, it's just going to make her feel worse and more trapped in the situation. I know this sounds awful, but if you talk to her about it ( which on balance I think you should) play up how easy she'll find it to lose weight, how breastfeeding will help that etc etc rather than trying to solve a life-long self esteem issue.

She is lucky to have such a caring friend. But as someone who has always been skinny and hasn't put on much weight in pregnancy, I got fed up of people assuming that I was putting my child in harms way for my own vanity about my figure! So all I'm saying is when you mention it, maybe play up the 'her' angle, rather than telling her she's hurting her baby. I know it's a bit machiavellian but it might have a more useful outcome. Sorry.

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