Pregnancy outcomes in women with active anorexia nervosa: a systematic review

Pan, Jeremy Ryan, Li, Tina Yutong, Tucker, Danny, and Chen, Kai Yang (2022) Pregnancy outcomes in women with active anorexia nervosa: a systematic review. Journal of Eating Disorders, 10. 25.

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Background: It is a common misconception that women with active anorexia nervosa (AN) are less likely to conceive. Pregnancies in women with AN are considered high risk. The purpose of this systematic review was to explore pregnancy complications in women with active AN, including maternal, fetal, and neonatal complications.

Methods: The authors conducted a systematic review in accordance with PRISMA statement guidelines with stringent selection criteria to include studies on patients with active AN during pregnancy. Results: There were 21 studies included in our review. Anaemia, caesarean section, concurrent recreational substance use, intrauterine growth restriction, preterm birth, small-for-gestation (SGA) birth, and low birth weight were the most reported pregnancy complications in women with active AN, while the rates of gestational diabetes and postpartum haemorrhage were lower.

Discussion: Women with active AN have a different profile of pregnancy complications comparing to malnourished women and women in starvation. We recommend early discussion with women diagnosed with AN regarding their fertility and pregnancy complications. We recommend clinicians to aim to improve physical and psychological symptoms of AN as well as correction of any nutritional deficiency ideally prior to conception. Management of pregnancies in women with active AN requires regular monitoring, active involvement of obstetricians and psychiatrist. Paediatric follow-up postpartum is recommended to ensure adequate feeding, wellbeing and general health of the infants. Psychiatric follow-up is recommended for mothers due to risk of worsening symptoms of AN during perinatal period.

Item ID: 74447
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2050-2974
Keywords: Anorexia nervosa, Fetal, Maternal, Neonatal, Pregnancy, Pregnancy complications, Pregnancy outcomes
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2022. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2022 03:49
FoR Codes: 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5203 Clinical and health psychology > 520304 Health psychology @ 30%
32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3215 Reproductive medicine > 321599 Reproductive medicine not elsewhere classified @ 70%
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