The abstract for this presentation is available here.
Terri Burton gave a presentation on the effects of eating disorders amongst pregnant women. Terri’s phenomenology research on 18 women’s lived experiences was significant in that she studied the impact of eating disorders on pregnant women rather than its impact on newborns, as a majority of existing research has done.
Her study found that most pregnant women experienced feelings of positivity, excitement and euphoria in their first trimester. However, these feelings gave way to negative emotions during the second trimester. Women expressed that they “looked fat, not pregnant”, and as a result developed feelings of depression, sadness, anxiety, panic, embarrassment, guilt and shame.
Most women also expressed that they were dissatisfied with the level of care they received during and after the birth of their child. This was primarily due to the lack of direct questions asked, a lack of information provided, and feeling like they had to lie to medical professionals for fear of being perceived in a negative light.
The women who participated in Terri’s study recommended that overall health care be improved, mainly through the fostering of a safe and comfortable environment in which honesty is encouraged and embraced. They also hoped that medical staffs could refrain from passing negative or judgmental comments, and be more observant about sudden weight loss or gain.
Terri has plans to maintain contact with her study’s participants in order to find out what questions they would have liked to be asked, or would like to be asked in future. She also plans to liaise with medical professionals to develop specific care plans.