Please note that this is an Archived article and may contain content that is out of date. The use of she/her/hers pronouns in some articles is not intended to be exclusionary. Eating disorders can affect people of all genders, ages, races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, body shapes, and weights.

By Quinn Nystrom, MS

For many years, I didn’t know if the destruction I had inflicted on my body in the form of bulimia would ruin my chances of getting pregnant one day. I had been diagnosed with PCOS and infertility. Then, on Mother’s Day weekend in 2023, I took a pregnancy test and found out I was pregnant. I was filled with joy, excitement, disbelief, and a little bit of fear. Could I have a healthy pregnancy? A healthy baby? Would my eating disorder rear its ugly head yet again? What new triggers could emerge? I was fully aware that my eating disorder could negatively affect my pregnancy.

Having an eating disorder can increase the chance of:

· Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IGR)

· Miscarriage

· Labor Complications

· Preterm birth

· Low birth weight

· Preeclampsia

· Gestational Diabetes

· Higher risk for postpartum depression


I also knew that new triggers may present, even from people’s best intentions:

· Wanting to touch my belly

· Saying if I appeared to look big or small

· Food police

· Plans on breastfeeding

· Birth plans

· Counting, comparing, and measuring what happens during medical appointments

· Too old to be pregnant

· High-risk pregnancy because of type 1 diabetes

· Baby shower games that highlight belly size

· Pressure to post bump photos of my bare belly


I wrote down a list of what was most helpful to me during my nine months:

1. Be honest about my past struggles with my entire medical team. I did not conceal my prior history with bulimia, body image struggles, and fears that were associated with that.

2. I weighed out with my psychiatrist the pros and cons of staying on my anti-depressant medication (we chose to stay on it).

3. Worked with my therapist on breaking the cycle of body hatred.

4. Clearly stated to friends and family what I was uncomfortable with for my baby showers (games, comments to stay away from, etc.). They want to celebrate you and your baby, not put you in a negative headspace.

5. Finding physical movement that I enjoyed. I was done with years of “exercise” being a form of punishment for my body. I needed to attend to my physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being equally.

I’ve always viewed my recovery as a daily choice, an ongoing process. Recovered is not something I consider as it’s past tense. The truth is that triggers will always arise for me. When I continue to strive for recovery, it’s not only the best for me, but it’s the best for my child.

On December 31, 2023, Robert “Beau” was born. When I held him in my arms for the first time, I was in a state of disbelief that he was mine and that we had found each other. I had a radical acceptance of my body. I had just carried a human for nine months and delivered him into this world.