Resources for eating disorders in pregnancy

Researchers from King’s College London announce new training resources to help professionals give greater support to mothers with eating disorders.

Eating disorders in pregnancy

Pregnancy news, 26/02/18

Marking the start of Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2018, researchers at King’s College London have launched practical training resources for health professionals to help them provide the best care possible for mothers with eating disorders.

The resources have been developed in response to research conducted by KCL, with input from midwives and obstetric doctors, women with lived experience, and organisations including Tommy’s, BEAT, the Institute of Health Visiting and The National Childbirth Trust.

‘Women with eating disorders are often reluctant to disclose their illness to healthcare professionals, possibly due to a fear of stigma, and healthcare professionals may be unsure about how to identify women with eating disorders or what support they need.’
Dr Abigail Easter, Senior Postdoctoral Fellow in Improvement Science at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN)

Previous research found that around 7.5% of women may suffer from eating disorders during pregnancy and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) addressed this in their recent 2017 recommendations. They called for enhanced monitoring and support for women with eating disorders before, during and after pregnancy.

Despite this, there are few resources available to healthcare professionals to help them provide the care these women need. In addition, the barriers to women disclosing mental health concerns make diagnosis and implementation of the current NICE guidelines challenging.

The new animation from KCL seeks to address this. It also highlights the importance of appropriate and timely support for pregnant women with eating disorders, and how important it is for these women to be able to trust their healthcare team.

Watch the animation

Tommy’s thoughts

'This resource will be so valuable to all health professionals supporting pregnant women with eating disorders. It will not only increase awareness of the conditions, but also give them the confidence to speak to women about their eating disorder, and the knowledge to support them throughout their pregnancy and beyond. All this should hopefully go some way to increase trust and reduce barriers that may currently be in the way of a woman disclosing her eating disorder with her healthcare team.' Kate Pinney, Tommy's Midwifery manager

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