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Disordered eating and fertility: Questions to ask yourself

Trying to get pregnant can bring up a lot of feelings. You might be excited, scared, nervous, uncertain, or a combination. And, if you’re currently struggling with or recovering from an eating disorder or have experienced one in the past, the  challenges of this journey may feel magnified. This is completely understandable. The best thing you can do is find a supportive, trustworthy care team to help guide you through. 

Next, try asking yourself some of the following questions. Your answers will likely vary depending on the day, your mood, and/or any other life events that arise that’s okay. The idea is to keep exploring until you find something that feels right for you.

What are the facts?

While eating disorders negatively affect fertility, having one won’t necessarily prevent you from getting pregnant. So being aware that you can still get pregnant is important when considering the timing of TTC. It’s in your best interest (and your future baby’s best interest) to get treatment for any eating disorder before becoming pregnant. A trusted health professional can help you pinpoint your greatest challenges and come up with a plan to support you as you prepare to TTC. Some of the topics you and your provider may discuss include mental health, body image, nutrition, and exercise.

What do I need?

Oftentimes people who have experienced disordered eating have certain triggers. These can be emotional, mental, and/or physical. You may already know what these triggers look like for you. If you don’t, it can be useful to identify them. Then you can consider what’s helped you avoid being triggered or cope with triggers in the past. You might also consider activities that you’ve found comforting and soothing. If nothing’s coming to mind, check out Ovia’s Daily Self-Care Checklist in your app. Some ideas might include finding ways to recharge and meditating.

Who can help me?

Because TTC can be triggering for those who have or had eating disorders, it’s especially useful to rally a support network that can help you along the way. This group can consist of anybody who makes you feel safe and comfortable when expressing your thoughts, fears, and concerns. It’s also important to involve the professionals if you’re still on the path to recovery. Some care team members might include a trusted dietitian, therapist and physician

What’s the bottom line on disordered eating and fertility?

Try to remember that obstacles related to disordered eating and your fertility aren’t your fault. But getting help is imperative to your recovery and health. Also remind yourself that everybody is different, requires unique care, and can likely move through these challenges with support. 

Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team

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