Fertility and pregnancy * Women's health * Mental wellbeing

Body image and pregnancy

womens vody image and pregnancy Family and friends important

Pregnant women often fret about their changing body and how childbirth will affect their figure.

However, a recent study has found that the positive experience of childbearing tends to offset negative body image issues, as do the mother's strong bonds with the new born and her partner and family.

"Although the changes to a woman’s body led to concerns, the experience of childbearing was generally found to be empowering, and appeared to protect the women against any negative impact on their body image", said researcher Dr Elena Gil-Rodriguez from London Metropolitan University.

Eight women took part in the study, which was designed to identify recurrent themes experienced by the new mothers.

Dr. Gil-Rodriguez found that body image was inextricably linked to a woman's "sense of self," and also played an important role in their relationships and how they saw themselves in society.

The study also highlighted how important family and friends were in how women felt about changes to their body as a result of childbirth.

"The women’s interpersonal relationships were also very important in relation to their body image, and investment in their relationships with their baby, partner, family and friends also seemed to protect against body image concerns," said Dr. Gil-Rodriguez.

The study was presented at the British Psychological Society’s Division of Counselling Psychology conference at the University of Warwick.

This article was published on Mon 13 July 2009

Image © Anatoly Tiplyashin - Fotolia.com

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