Childhood traumatic events and loss of control eating in pregnancy: Findings from a community sample of women with overweight and obesity

Rebecca L. Emery, Maria Tina Benno, Theresa Kleih, Elizabeth Bell, Susan M. Mason, Michele D. Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although eating disorder symptoms generally decrease in pregnancy, loss of control eating (LOC), defined by the consumption of food accompanied by a sense of being unable to control what or how much is eaten, often persists and may develop in pregnancy. Given that LOC is associated with higher weight status and psychological distress, it is important to understand factors associated with perinatal LOC. Although childhood traumatic events have been linked to LOC in non-pregnant women, the impact of such events on LOC in pregnancy is unknown. Accordingly, the present study aimed to examine the association between a history of childhood traumatic events and LOC prior to and during pregnancy among a community sample of pregnant women with overweight or obesity. Pregnant women (N = 244) were enrolled in a longitudinal study. Women completed interviews between 12 and 20 weeks gestation to document a history of childhood traumatic events and the presence of LOC in the three months prior to and during their current pregnancy. Women were assessed for LOC monthly for the remainder of pregnancy. Results from a multinomial regression model showed that women with a history of childhood traumatic events had higher odds of engaging in LOC both prior to and during pregnancy (OR = 2.52, 95% CI [1.13, 5.64], p = 0.02) but not during pregnancy only (OR = 1.58, 95% CI [0.87, 2.89], p = 0.39). These findings indicate that women with a history of childhood traumatic events may be especially prone to LOC in the months prior to conception that continues throughout pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101513
JournalEating Behaviors
Early online dateMay 1 2021
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - May 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development under R01 HD068802 (PI: Levine). Rebecca Emery's time was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences under TL1 TR002493 (PI: Fulkerson) and UL1 TR002494 (PI: Blazar). The research presented in this paper is that of the authors and does not reflect the official policy of the NIH. The NIH played no role in the study design, data collection, or analysis and interpretation of results presented herein. All authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Childhood trauma
  • Loss of control eating
  • Pregnancy
  • Women

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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