Content Analysis of #Postpartumbody Images Posted to Instagram

Megan L. Gow, Hiba Jebeile, Natalie B. Lister, Heike Roth, Helen Skouteris, Heidi Bergmeier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the imagery on social media targeting postpartum women is an important step in determining the utility of Instagram as a potential avenue for targeting public health messages to this group. This study (1) describes the content of images on Instagram tagged with #postpartumbody and; (2) compares images from ‘Top’ posts (‘trending’ or ‘popular’) with ‘Recent’ posts. 600 images tagged with #postpartumbody (300 ‘Top’ and 300 ‘Recent’) were systematically captured from Instagram and coded using a predefined framework. Images of women were coded for adiposity, muscularity, pose and attire. Chi-square tests were used to compare ‘Top’ and ‘Recent’ posts. Most (n = 409) images were of a woman who generally had low/average adiposity (91%) and little-to-none/some visible muscle definition (93%). Most women (52%) were posing in a non-specific manner, 5% were posing to accentuate a postpartum body feature and 40% were wearing fitness attire. Compared with ‘Recent’, ‘Top’ posts were less likely to be text-focused (p < 0.001), photos of food (p < 0.001) or linked to a product/program (p < 0.001). Women of lower adiposity are more likely to post images of themselves on Instagram tagged with #postpartumbody than women of higher adiposity, which may reflect increased body pride in this group, but could reduce body satisfaction for some viewers. Conveying health information on Instagram may be necessary to interrupt potentially harmful content.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1802
Number of pages12
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • body image
  • health information
  • Instagram
  • postpartum
  • social media
  • women

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