Psychosocial influences on weight gain attitudes and behaviors during pregnancy

Janet A. DiPietro, Sarah Millet, Kathleen A. Costigan, Edith D. Gurewitsch Allen, Laura E. Caulfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective To examine pregnant women's weight-related attitudes and behaviors in relation to a constellation of psychosocial characteristics, prepregnancy body habitus, and gestational weight gain. Participants One hundred-thirty women with low-risk, normal pregnancies. Design Cross-sectional, observational study assessed attitudes about weight gain at 36 weeks' gestation. Psychosocial characteristics, including anxiety, depression, social support, emotionality, and pregnancy-specific and nonspecific stress appraisal were assessed between 28 and 36 weeks' gestation. Statistical analyses performed Principal components factor analysis, Pearson correlations, t tests, and analysis of variance. Result A range of positive and negative attitudes about weight gain was expressed. Twenty-one percent (n=27) of the sample endorsed at least one weight-restrictive behavior during pregnancy. Women who reported more weight-restrictive behaviors were more anxious (r=.24, P<.01), depressed (r=.29, P<.001), angry (r=.29, P<.001), stressed (r=.23, P<.01), and felt less uplifted (r=-.21, P<.05) about their pregnancies in general. Higher Positive Pregnancy Body Image scores were associated with feeling better about the pregnancy in general (r=.35, P<.001), fewer depressive symptoms, and less anger (both r=.20, both P<.01). Women who were self conscious about their weight gain felt more hassled by their pregnancies (r=.21, P<.05), greater anger (r=.21, P<.05), and more support from partners (r=.22, P<.05). Prepregnancy body mass index was unrelated, but negative attitudes about weight gain existed even among women who gained within recommended ranges. Conclusion Women's attitudes about weight gain in pregnancy are imbedded in their orientation toward pregnancy as well as their general psychological functioning. Effective nutrition counseling for pregnant women should include consideration of weight-restrictive behaviors, the degree to which the pregnancy is perceived as positive and uplifting, and whether weight gain attitudes may be associated with their relationship with a spouse or partner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1314-1319
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Volume103
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Weight Gain
weight gain
pregnancy
Pregnancy
Weights and Measures
Anger
pregnant women
Pregnant Women
Depression
spouses
diet counseling
body image
Ego
Body Image
observational studies
anxiety
Principal Component Analysis
Spouses
Social Support
signs and symptoms (animals and humans)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

Cite this

Psychosocial influences on weight gain attitudes and behaviors during pregnancy. / DiPietro, Janet A.; Millet, Sarah; Costigan, Kathleen A.; Gurewitsch Allen, Edith D.; Caulfield, Laura E.

In: Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Vol. 103, No. 10, 01.10.2003, p. 1314-1319.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

DiPietro, Janet A. ; Millet, Sarah ; Costigan, Kathleen A. ; Gurewitsch Allen, Edith D. ; Caulfield, Laura E. / Psychosocial influences on weight gain attitudes and behaviors during pregnancy. In: Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2003 ; Vol. 103, No. 10. pp. 1314-1319.
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