A heartbroken mum has told how her daughter has died aged 21 after battling anorexia for seven years, triggered by her desire to get rid of teenage “puppy fat”.
Grammar school girl Sophie Bridges died last month of suspected heart failure which her mum, Sharon Bridges, 47, believes was the result of the eating disorder she had suffered since her early teens.
Sharon Bridges Sophie was ‘feisty’ – but had battled anorexia for years
Heartbreakingly, Sharon yesterday received a “recovery package” in the post addressed to Sophie. “It contained things like a handcream, stress ball and other helpful tools, she explained. “She must have been trying to get better by herself.”
Sharon, from County Down, Northern Ireland, told how her daughter’s still body was found in bed by her husband Raymond, 50, on March 17 this year.
The night before she had said goodnight as usual, before heading to bed.
“When he saw Sophie, he just knew,” she said. “He called to me and she was lying there, very still..
“Sadly it was not as much a surprise as it might have been. The mortality rate for anorexia is still very high.”
Sharon Bridges Sophie, left, with her mum, right, was keen to recover from her illness
Sharon told how Sophie, weighing 11 stone and measuring 5ft 3ins, was 13 when she first became interested in diet and exercise.
“She wasn’t fat though, it was just a little bit of puppy fat,” recalled Sharon, of County Down, Northern Ireland.. “She was still developing, she was only a teenager.
“But she started going to the gym lots and exercising all the time.
Sharon Bridges Sharon, pictured shortly after giving birth to Sophie, doesn’t want any other mums to suffer like she has Sharon Bridges Sophie, middle, at Christmas with family friends, Lorna and Jade
“She cut back on eating… I was so worried.”
Over the next six months her weight rapidly decreased, hitting seven stone.
Horrified by her plummeting size and the amount she was exercising, Sharon took her to the GP, but she continued to not eat. “She was very small,” her mum said. “She was barely eating.”
And, tragically, her illness continued over the next few years until, in January 2017, she was admitted into a mental health inpatient unit.
Sharon Bridges Aged 13, Sophie worried that she was overweight and started exercising
For eight months she remained there until she was released back to her parents’ home.
But, despite their support, Sophie – who aspired to be a nurse – continued to grow smaller.
Her mum was not sure how much she weighed when she passed away. “For me anorexia isn’t just about weight,” she explained. “It is also about mind set. It is an illness like any other illness.”
Signs and symptoms of anorexia
- Have an unusally low body mass index
- missing meals, eating very little or avoiding eating any foods you see as fattening
- believing you are fat when you are a healthy weight or underweight
- taking medication to reduce your hunger (appetite suppressants)
- your periods stopping (in women who have not reached menopause) or not starting (in younger women and girls)
- physical problems, such as feeling lightheaded, hair loss or dry skin
Last Christmas she was at home with her sister, Hannah, 27, and brothers, Sam, 24, and Ethan, 20.
But on March 17, she died. “I think it was her eating disorder which killed her,” her mum said. “She was feisty and intelligent.
“She was sarcastic and fun.
“But she was also battling something huge.”
Sharon Bridges As a child Sophie was healthy
What Are The Early Signs Of Labour, How Long Does It Normally Last, Will My Waters Break And What Do Contractions Feel Like?
GIVING birth is the most magical time of a woman’s life (or so people who have never had kids try and tell us).
The fact is, having a baby is a difficult and painful time and everyone’s experience is different. Here are some answers to you baby questions…
Getty – Contributor We reveal the early signs of labour and how long it can take to give birth
What are the early signs of labour?
This can differ greatly from woman to woman but there are some tell-tale signs that may indicate you are going into early labour.
Lower back pain or abdominal pain Painful contractions Waters breaking – more on that below A brown discharge Diarrhea Disturbed sleep
Getty – Contributor Every woman’s experience of giving birth is different and there’s no way to predict how long it could take
How long labour normally last?
Unfortunately for expectant mums – there really is no normal and definitely no way to predict how long labour will last.
For first time mothers the average labour is eight hours long but it could easily be much short or (gulp) much longer.
Experts suggest that it is unlikely to last more than 18 hours but we’ve all heard the 36-hour labour horror stories.
Once the cervix is fully dilated (so 10cm wide) it’ll probably be an hour or two of pushing before you get your bundle of joy.
If you’ve already had a baby and are going for number two (or three or four etc…) it is likely to be far quicker.
On average active labour takes five hours with few deliveries going over 12 hours.
Do waters always break?
Your waters breaking is actually the membranes rupturing with a gush or a trickle of amniotic fluid.
Although every pregnant woman has an amniotic sac, only about 10 per cent of mums-to-be have their waters break before giving birth.
It can happen a while before the woman actually gives birth but it definitely means they would need to alert the midwife and potentially head into hospital.
When Was Kate Middleton’s Baby Due? As She Goes Into Labour, Predictions And Name Rumours For Will And Kate’s Third Royal Baby
THE Duchess of Cambridge is in labour right NOW with the Duke by her side, and speculation is rife about the sex of the baby and and what names are in the running for the latest addition to their family.
Understandably, everyone is excited about a new member of the royal family. Here is what we know so far…
PA:Press Association The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be welcoming their baby very soon
When was Kate Middleton and Prince William’s baby due?
Kensington Palace confirmed the news that a new royal baby is on the way on September 4, 2017.
On October 17, Kensington Palace confirmed on Twitter that the due date is in April and The Sun later exclusively revealed that the baby could arrive on St George’s Day April 23.
It looks like the predictions were correct as Kensington Palace announced early this morning that Kate was in labour.
Parking restrictions went up outside the exclusive Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington on April 9.
Getty – Contributor Kate was spotted at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists on February 27
Typically couples wait until the three-month mark before announcing they are expecting a baby.
But the Sun’s Royal Correspondent Emily Andrews believes the Duchess was forced to announce the pregnancy early after to suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum (severe morning sickness) as she did in her previous pregnancies.
The Duchess made her first public appearance since announcing the pregnancy on World Mental Health Day after missing every official engagement for more than a month as a result of the illness.
She was spotted showing off her bump in a blue coat while visiting the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) in London.
Kate was spotted in a more casual outfit for her last official engagement before going on maternity leave.
She wore a pair of black skinny jeans and a non-maternity top from Hobbs and a cream coat by Goat when she visited Olympic Park’s Copper Box arena on March 22.
PA:Press Association Kate had her last official engagement on March 22
But she joined the Queen and other royals on April 1 for a traditional Easter Matins Service at St George’s Chapel in Windsor, where Harry and Meghan are due to tie the knot.
She looked radiant in a chocolate-brown coat, matching pillbox hat and caramel-coloured heels.
With the birth potentially weeks or days away, Kate will have to follow a series of birthing rules to adhere to tradition when she welcomes the new arrival.
These include who must be told the news before anybody else, as well as who is allowed inside the room of the birth.
And following with tradition the news of the new birth will be displayed on an easel outside Buckingham Palace, confirming Kate “has been delivered of” and then the baby’s gender.
How old are Prince George and Princess Charlotte?
Wills and Kate announced in December 2012 that they were expecting their first child together.
On July 22, 2013, Kate was admitted to St Mary’s Hospital, where William himself was born and emerged with a son – Prince George.
In September 2014, the royal couple announced that Kate was pregnant again, with Princess Charlotte being born at the same hospital on May 2, 2015.
Getty – Contributor Kate showed off her baby bump in January 2018 as they opened a £59 million training centre for nurses, midwives and paramedics at the Coventry University
What are the name rumours for Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s third child?
William and Kate already have two children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
The gender of the new baby has not yet been announced.
Given the first two royal baby names, it’s no surprise that the bookies have picked very traditional names for their line-ups.
Sun Bets and Paddy Power have similar top six names for their odds.
Paddy Power’s latest odds on the most likely girl names are Alice (4/1), Mary (11/2), Arthur (5/1), Albert (9/1) and Victoria (6/1).
And these are the boys and girls names favoured by royals throughout the years, from James to Catherine.
What Do Braxton Hicks Contractions Feel Like And How Regular Should They Be Before I Go To The Hospital?
ALL eyes are on the Duchess of Cambridge as Kensington Palace announced she had gone into labour with her third baby on the morning of April 23.
But what are the signs she might be going into labour – and what are “practice contractions”?
PA:Press Association As the nation waits for the arrival of the third royal baby – here are the signs of labour
What are Braxton Hicks contractions and what do they feel like?
Braxton Hicks – regularly called practice contractions – are perfectly normal during pregnancy.
While you are expecting you might notice your tummy becoming hard and experience period-like cramps, this is what Braxton Hicks are.
But don’t worry, they are completely normal and are not a sign you are going into labour.
In fact, they can start around the middle of your pregnancy and many women may not even feel them at all.
They are caused by the tightening of the muscles in the uterus.
It is not clear why they happen, but most doctors believe it is the womb preparing itself for labour.
The cramps may feel similar to the cramps you get when you have your period.
You will also notice your tummy becomes firm when the muscles contract.
Val Willcox, from parenting charity NCT, told The Sun Online: “Usually from about halfway into her pregnancy a woman might start to notice there are times when her bump goes really hard.
Getty – Contributor They are caused by the tightening if the muscles in the uterus
“We don’t really know why it happens, but it is the muscles of the uterus contracting.
“So it might be the muscles of the uterus just keeping themselves ready for the job of labour.
“And later on in pregnancy it might be about the cervix getting ready for labour.”
How often do they happen?
Getty – Contributor Some women may not feel Braxton Hicks but for others they may be uncomfortable
How often you experience Braxton Hicks varies from woman to woman.
“They might happen once of twice a day, it can last for up to a minute,” Val said.
“It’s supposed to be painless but some pregnant women might find that they really notice it.
“The way they differ from the contractions of labour is they don’t settle into a pattern, they only happen once or twice a day and a lot of women find if they change what they are doing they ease off.
“So if they are sitting down at work and they notice their bump has gone really hard, they may find getting up and walking around helps it wear off.”
When do you need to go to hospital?
Getty – Contributor You don’t need to go to hospital unless your contractions are happening every five or so minutes
Braxton Hicks are usually nothing to worry about and don’t require a hospital visit.
But if you notice they develop a pattern and are happening more regularly, it could be a sign you are in labour.
These are not Braxton Hicks, they are contractions.
THE KEY SIGNS OF EARLY LABOUR
When you are about to go into labour there are a few things you might notice.
These signs can start from up to a week before you actually have your baby.
Here’s what to look out for:
your producing more vaginal discharge than normal you pass your mucus plug- the clump of mucus your body produces to seal the cervix shut when you’re expecting – this is known as the show feeling unusually energetic frequent Braxton Hicks an ache in your lower back
You shouldn’t need to go to hospital until you have contractions every five minutes or so.
But if you are worried about anything you should speak to your midwife.
Listen to your body and if anything feels different you should speak to a midwife.
“In antenatal classes I will often recommend waiting until you’re having three contractions in 10 minutes before you go to hospital,” Val said.
“So that’s round about five minutes apart, and they are lasting for about a minute,” Val said.
“Then the most important thing is how a woman feels during that contraction.
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