- With Mayo Clinic obstetrician and medical editor-in-chief
Roger W. Harms, M.D.read biographyclose window
Roger W. Harms, M.D.Roger W. Harms, M.D.
"Nothing helps people stay healthy more than the power of real knowledge about health." — Dr. Roger Harms
As medical director of content, Dr. Roger Harms is excited about the potential for Mayo Clinic's health information site to help educate people about their health and provide them the tools and information to live healthier lives.
The Auburn, Neb., native has been with Mayo Clinic since 1981 and is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. Dr. Harms is a practicing physician and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and his specialty areas include office gynecology, high-risk obstetrics and obstetrical ultrasound.
From 2002 to 2007, Dr. Harms was director for education at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dr. Harms was the 1988 Mayo Medical School Teacher of the Year and served as associate dean for student affairs and academic affairs. He is the co-author of the "Mayo Clinic Model of Education." In 2008, Dr. Harms was presented the Distinguished Educator Award, Mayo Clinic, Rochester.
Dr. Harms is vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and medical editor of the Pregnancy section on this website. In addition, Dr. Harms is editor-in-chief of the "Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy" book, a month-by-month guide to everything a woman needs to know about having a baby.
"My medical education experience has grown out of a love of teaching, and that is what this site is about," Dr. Harms says. "If any visitor to this site makes a more informed and thus more comfortable decision about his or her health because of the information we provide, we are successful."
Healthy pregnancy (19)
- Flu shot in pregnancy: Is it safe?
- Leg cramps during pregnancy: Preventable?
- Vaccines during pregnancy: Are they safe?
- see all in Healthy pregnancy
First trimester (3)
- Nausea during pregnancy: A good thing?
- Implantation bleeding: Normal in early pregnancy?
- Birth control pills: Harmful in early pregnancy?
Second trimester (1)
- Fundal height: An accurate sign of fetal growth?
Third trimester (1)
- Hypnobirthing: How does it work?
Pregnancy problems (9)
- Low amniotic fluid: How is it treated?
- Cervical length: Why does it matter during pregnancy?
- Diastasis recti: How does pregnancy affect stomach muscles?
- see all in Pregnancy problems
Pregorexia: A legitimate problem during pregnancy?
Is pregorexia for real?
from Roger W. Harms, M.D.
The term "pregorexia" refers to a woman's drive to control pregnancy weight gain through extreme dieting and exercise.
Although health care providers don't uniformly recognize the term, the behavior associated with pregorexia is real and could harm a baby's health. Still, pregorexia is exceedingly rare. Far more women gain too much, rather than too little, weight during pregnancy.
No matter what the scale says, however, some women do excessively worry about their weight gain and experience body image issues during pregnancy. The risk of pregorexia might be higher for women who have a history of eating disorders and those who have a weak social support system.
Specific warning signs of pregorexia might include:
- Talking about the pregnancy as if it weren't real
- Heavily focusing on calorie counts
- Eating alone or skipping meals
- Exercising excessively
If you're pregnant and struggling with your body image, share your concerns with your health care provider.
Your health care provider can help you determine an appropriate weight gain during pregnancy, based on your pre-pregnancy weight and body mass index. He or she can also explain how to use healthy lifestyle habits and proper nutrition to control weight gain during pregnancy.
It might be helpful to consult a registered dietitian or a mental health provider as well.Next question
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- Mathieu J. What is pregorexia? Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2009;109:976.
- Zauderer CR. Eating disorders and pregnancy: Supporting the anorexic or bulimic expectant mother. MCN, The American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing. 2012;37:48.
- Swann RA, et al. Attitudes toward weight gain during pregnancy: Results from the Norwegian mother and child cohort study (MoBa). International Journal of Eating Disorders. 2009;42:394.
- Harms RW (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 27, 2012.