Mummyrexia: the obsession with slimness during pregnancy

Definition: What is mummierexia?

” The mamarexia is characterized by a Food Hypercontrol during the pregnancy explains Fazia Khanifi, nutritionist and specialist in eating disorders. In practice, pregnant women suffering from mummierexia control their weight, reduce their food intake and increase their physical activity time.

The term mummyrexia comes from the association of mum (mama in English) and anorexia.

Which women are affected?

Mummyrexia, also called pregorexia, “concerns women suffering from incurable anorexia”, specifies the nutritionist. These women are ambivalent: they want a child but don’t want the physical changes that pregnancy brings: larger breasts, weight gain, baby bump… “If you lose control of your weight during pregnancy, you see yourself deformed,” specifies the nutritionist. Dysmorphophobia is accentuated like low self-esteem.

What about non-anorexic women?

This phenomenon of mumierexia or ‘Featherweight pregnancy‘ does not affect women who are not suffering from anorexia.

“In fact, the latter are rarely exposed to mummierexia,” assures the nutritionist. In fact, they eliminate pregnancy guilt about gaining weight and even go so far as to “eat for two”! »

However, certain things can make you watch your weight during those nine months of pregnancy. ” In case of gestational diabetesD’obesity », precisely Fazia Khanifi.

Pregnant women whether they are old anorexic or have not yet healed from their eating disorder, should seek help before the pregnancy begins.

Support from the baby project

Young anorexic women planning a baby are advised to be monitored immediately after birth. desire for children. The doctor can reassure you about the pounds you will gain during your pregnancy. “He’s going to downplay it Weight gain of at least 8 kg during the nine months divided between the fetal weightthat from placentafrom amniotic fluid And you increased blood volumeand which are lost very quickly,” explains Fazia Khanifi.

This pre-pregnancy follow-up allows future pregnant women to receive the nutritional supplements needed for a good pregnancy, such as: folates (folic acid).

Monitoring during pregnancy

Ex-anorexic women have a keen interest in getting help during their pregnancy to limit any risk mamarexia. “This follow-up by a healthcare professional will prevent you from relapsing and destabilizing the mom-to-be at a time of life when emotions run high, when certain uncertainties can resurface,” advises the nutritionist.

Pregnant women who have not yet recovered from their anorexia should know that it is the hardest thing to live with first trimester. “In fact, in the first three months of pregnancy there is fatigue, nausea, hormonal upheaval,” lists Fazia Khanifi. The first trimester of pregnancy is often difficult to navigate, even for women who don’t suffer from anorexia.

“But the phenomenon of overweight control decreases from the 4th month of pregnancy, assures the nutritionist. During this period of pregnancy, the expectant mother begins to feel her baby move. The pregnant woman suffering from mumierexia then becomes aware of the future baby she is carrying and who needs to be fed. She doesn’t want to hurt him. The pregnancy then becomes more harmonious. »

Mumierexia: what are the risks?

The risks of not gaining enough weight during pregnancy affect both the mother-to-be and the baby-to-be.

The dangers for the expectant mother

They are numerous! Fazia Khanifi describes them in detail:

  • from defects Nutrients important for the body: vitamins, minerals, trace elements.
  • a miscarriage.
  • a premature birth with a baby in the incubator, which complicates the development of the mother-child bond.

Threats to the future baby

  • A intrauterine developmental delay.
  • A low birth weight.

What to Eat for a “Featherweight Pregnancy”?

To respond to it dietary needs from pregnant woman and baby She wears: “The energy intake should not be less than 1,600 calories per day in the first trimester of pregnancy, and they must be at least 2,000 calories a day during the third trimester, because in the last three months the baby gains the most weight. As for the post carbohydratesit must represent 50% of the daily dose, because the latter represent the essential source of energy for the development of the fetus,” warns Fazia Khanifi.

How do I get 250g of carbs?

– A plate of cooked pasta (250g or 10 tablespoons) = 60g of carbohydrates.

– 50 g bread = 1/5 baguette = 25 g carbohydrates

– 1 fruit = 12 to 15 g of carbohydrates = 2 clementines = 1 pear = 1 apple

– 1 plain milk = 6 g of carbohydrates

A typical meal day

It consists of three main meals and from two snacks. Here is Fazia Khanifi’s meal suggestion.

Bread + butter + 1 dairy product or pasteurized or UHT milk + 1 fresh fruit + 1 hot drink: coffee or tea (no more than 3 cups a day) or herbal tea.

They’re built the same way

1 portion (100 g) of meat, fish or 2 eggs + 1 portion of starchy food and/or bread + cooked or raw vegetables as desired (wash well if raw because of the risk of toxoplasmosis) + 1 dairy product (yoghurt or pasteurized milk cheese).

Consume at the end of the morning and in the afternoon

1 fresh fruit + 1 handful of nuts or oilseeds (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.).

Nutrients essential for pregnancy

“Mummyrexia is a high-risk pregnancy for deficiencies in essential nutrients,” the nutritionist warns.

Here are the ones that play a particularly important role in pregnant women:

  • calcium : it is necessary for the lactation and at the Construction of the skeleton of the future baby. It is mainly found in dairy products.
  • iodine : It is important, the baby’s neurological development. Therefore, it is important to eat fish twice a week.
  • the essential omega-3 fatty acids: they allow the to form the baby’s brain membrane. They are also important for the assembly of neurons. They are found in oily fish that should be consumed once a week, preferably small fish like sardines, anchovies and mackerel, which contain fewer heavy metals like mercury and lead than salmon or tuna. We also think of rapeseed, walnut, linseed and nut oils.
  • folate : They participate in the development of the nervous system and limit the risk of spina bifida in the future baby. Folic acid is recommended as a supplement from the pregnancy project and during the first trimester. They can be found in whole or semi-whole starch, in legumes, green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, avocado, asparagus…
  • The iron : It is important, oxygen transport, both for the mother and for the future baby. It is found in meat, fish, legumes, oilseeds and nuts.

Good to know : 40% of heme iron (of animal origin) is absorbed by the body, compared to only 5% of non-heme iron (of plant origin). And to avoid interfering with iron absorption too much, don’t drink more than 3 cups of tea or coffee a day, as caffeine decreases iron absorption.


Some foods do not go well with pregnancy. This is the case with foie and liver products. “They include Vitamin A, dangerous for the fetus », warns the nutritionist. We avoid those too soy and its derivatives, which are endocrine disruptorsas well as raw milk and the milk cheese raw because of risk of listeriosis.

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