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Eating Disorders in the Perinatal Period

Eating Disorders in the Perinatal Period

Support for Healthcare Professionals


Do you work with new or expectant mums?
Do you feel equipped to spot the signs of a potential eating disorder?

How confident would you feel supporting a woman with current or historic experience of an eating disorder during the perinatal period? Eating disorders during the perinatal period can be severely detrimental to the mental and physical health of both mother and baby.

The Stats

  • 5.3% of pre-partum and 12.8% of post-partum mothers screen positive for disordered eating behaviours.
  • 16% of pregnant women will have experienced an eating disorder at some time.
  • 50% of women who have had an eating disorder historically will relapse within 12 months of delivery.
  • 1 in 3 mothers with an underlying eating disorder develop postnatal depression in comparison to 3-12% in the general population.
  • At all times during pregnancy and the postnatal period, women with an eating disorder experience an increased rate of depressive symptoms.

The Risks

  • Labour complications
  • Poor nutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Higher rate of miscarriage
  • Cardiac irregularities
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Premature birth
  • Difficulties breastfeeding
  • Postnatal depression
  • Delayed development
  • Low birth weight for age
  • Respiratory distress


Only 6% of people with an eating disorder are ever clinically underweight, and eating disorders affect people of all weights, shapes, ages, backgrounds, and sexualities. 



Wednesday’s Child Perinatal Services

  • Free e-learning module, ‘Eating Disorders in the Perinatal Period’
  • Bespoke training delivered by our Perinatal Lead
  • Lived-experience speakers
  • Webinars

  • 1:1 befriending delivered by lived-experience volunteers
  • E-learning modules:
    • Pregnancy and Eating Disorders
    • Eating Disorders and Early Motherhood
  • 1:1 or family therapy with specialist eating disorder psychologists



 We are proud to be a member organisation of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance.