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Anorexia, unplanned pregnancies linked

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Women with anorexia nervosa are more likely to have unplanned pregnancies, U.S. and Norwegian researchers say.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health found unplanned pregnancies were reported by 50 percent of women in the study with the eating disorder versus 18.9 percent of women without it.

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Study lead author Cynthia Bulik suggests a woman with anorexia nervosa may mistakenly believe she can't become pregnant because she isn't having a menstrual period due to her anorexia.

"Anorexia is not a good contraceptive," Bulik said in a statement. "Just because you're not menstruating, or because you're menstruating irregularly, doesn't mean you're not at risk for becoming pregnant."

The study, published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, also found 24.2 percent of the women with anorexia had reported having abortions in the past versus 14.6 percent of the women without anorexia.

Bulik and colleagues collected data from 62,060 women who were part of the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study.

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