More than 60% of respondents believed they need to be skinny or thinner than their present measurement, and over half stated feedback from others about their physique or measurement had an impression on their physique picture.
Respondents stated the downsides of pursuing a perfect physique picture included poor psychological well being, disordered consuming and train habits, misplaced money and time, and destructive self-talk.
Not all respondents reported destructive emotions about their our bodies, nonetheless. Some stated being pregnant and childbirth led to a higher appreciation for what their our bodies have been able to and helped them focus extra on their very own well being and diet.
“During pregnancy I started to accept my appearance more and learn to appreciate my body for what it could do, not just how it could look,” stated one respondent.
When it involves potential options, 82% of respondents stated they’d be eager about a program that centered on physique acceptance throughout being pregnant and postpartum. Most would like the interventions to be digital, facilitated by professionals and performed in a bunch setting.
“I would like to speak with other women about how to be healthy postpartum but also [how to be] accepting of the body changes and how we will not look like we used to pre-pregnancy.”
Next Steps and Future Research
There is at present an absence of intervention packages particularly focused to pregnant and postpartum people, Vanderkruik says.
However there are current evidence-based packages for physique acceptance, resembling The Body Project, that might be tailored to handle the distinctive wants of pregnant and postpartum people.
Another current intervention, Project Health, might be tailored to handle the problem of extreme gestational weight in a approach that can be delicate to emotions of physique dissatisfaction.
Notably, practically half of survey respondents reported pre-pregnancy physique mass index (BMI) within the chubby or overweight classes.
While weight acquire is regular throughout being pregnant, being chubby or overweight pre-pregnancy or gaining extra weight whereas pregnant may also improve well being dangers for mom and child.
“There’s a tensionwe want to prevent any body-shaming or unrealistic expectations about returning to a certain body shape or size shortly after delivering,” Vanderkruik explains. “At the same time, we want to support healthy behaviors and a healthy lifestyle, too.”
More analysis shall be wanted to handle the restrictions of the survey and additional detangle the advanced relationship between weight, physique picture and wholesome behaviors in being pregnant and postpartum.
“We would need to do more research on these issues; there were limitations to our survey study, including that assessments participants’ BMI and mental health were self-reported, and that it was cross-sectional (it only captured data from one point in time),” Vanderkruik says.
“But judging by the response to the survey study, the issues of body image and eating seem to be something that many pregnant and postpartum individuals care about and are interested enough to take the time to complete the survey without compensation and provide thoughtful information.”
The outcomes have been lately printed within the Archives of Women’s Mental Health.
Vanderkruik, a Staff Psychologist and the Associate Director of Research and Cognitive Behavioral Sciences on the Ammon-Pinizzotto Center for Women’s Mental Health at Massachusetts General Hospital, has heard particular person reviews of physique dissatisfaction from shoppers in her medical apply.
With the survey, she wished to realize a greater sense of the scope of the issue and lift consciousness of the challenges it creates.
“I think there can be some shame and discomfort talking about issues of body image in pregnancy and postpartum,” Vanderkruik says. “There is still a culture that emphasizes being so happy to be pregnant and such.”
“But women’s experience with their bodies changing is significant, and I think there is not always a lot of honest conversations about the impact of that.”