Contrary to popular belief, anorexic women continue to menstruate, and retain the ability to conceive and give birth. The widely-held belief that they can't, however, may be behind a striking finding by obstetrics researchers: anorexic women are a lot more likely to have unplanned pregnancies and abortions. In a recent study on 62,060 Norwegian women, only 62 identified themselves as anorexics, but half of those said they'd had an unplanned pregnancy—compared to only 19% of the rest of the subjects, Time reports.
Some 24% of the anorexics had had an abortion, compared to just 15% of those without the eating disorder. Among those who didn't abort, anorexics delivered babies at an average of age of three years younger—26 as opposed to 29. “It wasn't just a subtle difference,” says the lead researcher. “It was really a whopping difference. We have got a public health message we've got to get out there.”