How well do women adapt to changes in their body size and shape across the course of pregnancy?

Dianne Duncombe, Eleanor H. Wertheim, Helen Skouteris, Susan J. Paxton, Leanne Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


This study examined body image across pregnancy. Pregnant women ( N = 158) completed measures of general attractiveness, feeling fat, fitness and strength, salience of weight and shape, and ideal and current body size at pre-pregnancy (retrospective), and in early, middle and late pregnancy. Body image was found to be fairly stable across pregnancy such that women who started with greater body concerns maintained them over time. Although women were least satisfied with their stomach size at late pregnancy, women's ideal body shape increased in parallel with increases in body size. Women with the most body concerns reported more depressive symptoms, tendency towards dieting, and smoking during pregnancy suggesting they were at greater risk in terms of health and well-being during pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-515
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Health Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2008


  • Body dissatisfaction
  • Body image
  • Depression
  • Dieting
  • Figure rating
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective

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