Predictors of Body Image During the First Year Postpartum: A Prospective Study Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • This longitudinal study investigated body image changes and possible predictors of multiple dimensions of body image in the first year postpartum. Women (N = 79) who had been followed up since early pregnancy (including reporting retrospectively about pre-pregnancy and concurrently about late pregnancy) completed questionnaires at 6 weeks, 6 months, and 12 months postpartum that focussed on body image measures of feeling fat, attractiveness, salience of shape and weight, and strength and fitness. Women experienced greater body dissatisfaction in the postpartum in comparison to pre-pregnancy and late pregnancy, with 6 months postpartum being the time of most body concern. In ratings of perceived current and ideal figure size, women decreased their current size ratings over the postpartum period; however, ratings of ideal figure remained stable over the three time points. The findings also revealed that higher frequency of physical comparison tendencies at 6 weeks postpartum, and depressive symptoms and dieting behaviours at 6 months postpartum were predictors of body image of different types at 12 months post birth.

publication date

  • June 20, 2007