Signs and symptoms of disordered eating in pregnancy: a Delphi consensus study

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This study aimed to establish consensus on the expression and distinction of disordered eating in pregnancy to improve awareness across various health professions and inform the development of a pregnancy-specific assessment instrument.

A three-round modified Delphi method was used with two independent panels. International clinicians and researchers with extensive knowledge on and/or clinical experience with eating disorders formed the first panel and were recruited using structured selection criteria. Women who identified with a lived experience of disordered eating in pregnancy formed the second panel and were recruited via expressions of interest from study advertising on pregnancy forums and social media platforms. A systematic search of academic and grey literature produced 200 sources which were used to pre-populate the Round I questionnaire. Additional items were included in Round II based on panel feedback in Round I. Consensus was defined as 75% agreement on an item.

Of the 102 items presented to the 26 professional panel members and 15 consumer panel members, 75 reached consensus across both panels. Both panels clearly identified signs and symptoms of disordered eating in pregnancy and endorsed a number of clinical features practitioners should consider when delineating disordered eating symptomatically from normative pregnancy experiences.

A list of signs and symptoms in consensus was identified. The areas of collective agreement may be used to guide clinicians in clinical practice, aid the development of psychometric tools to detect/assess pregnancy-specific disordered eating, in addition to serving as starting point for the development of a core outcome set to measure disordered eating in pregnancy.
Original languageEnglish
Article number262
Number of pages16
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2018


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