Evidence into Practice: Recognition and response to eating disorders in the perinatal period


Timescale: February 2017 – April 2018

Funder: The Health Foundation



Eating disorders during pregnancy, birth and motherhood can have far-reaching effects, including the risk of obstetric complications and adverse child development outcomes. A team at King’s College London has carried out extensive research on the prevalence and impact of, and response to, eating disorders in pregnancy and motherhood. They found that eating disorders may be more common during this period than previously thought, and that health care professionals are often not appropriately trained in identifying and dealing with pregnant women and new mothers who have an eating disorder.

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The research project

Eating disorders can be difficult to identify during pregnancy without appropriate training, and research has found that patient and health care system barriers exist, resulting in difficulties for health care professionals in implementing the clinical guidance. These barriers include lack of knowledge and training on eating disorders, and stigma about the illness. This Evidence into Practice project will translate these research findings into innovative multimedia educational and awareness-raising tools, targeted at midwives and health visitors working with women during pregnancy and the first year postnatal. The resources will include a five-minute animated film suitable for viewing on mobile phones, websites and within apps. There will also be a series of visuals that can be used as teaching aids.


The research team

The project will be led by Dr Abigail Easter, Senior Postdoctoral Research Fellow at King’s College London. Dr Nicola Mackintosh, Associate Professor in Social Science Applied to Health at the University of Leicester, is an expert advisor to the project, drawing on her expertise in patient safety and development of multimedia content for patients. She is responsible for providing guidance and feedback on the development and dissemination of the tools, and progress of the project.


Further information

Find out more about the project on the project webpage.

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