Effects of pregnancy on eating attitudes and disorders: a prospective study

J Psychosom Res. 2005 Sep;59(3):175-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2005.03.002.


The aim of this prospective study was to investigate the effects of pregnancy on eating disorders (ED), dietary habits and body image perception. One hundred and fifty pregnant women were interviewed between the period January 2001 and May 2003. Ninety-seven women completed the study and were divided in three subgroups: pregnant women with a positive history of dieting (n=37), pregnant women with a positive history of dieting with a complete diagnosis of a current ED (n=11) and pregnant women with a negative history either of dieting or ED (control group; n=49). Age, education and parity were equally distributed in all three groups. To verify if pregnancy exerts a specific protective effect, a battery of psychometric tests was administered to women at 12 degrees (T0), 22 degrees (T1), and 34 degrees pregnancy weeks (T2), and 2 days (T3) and 4 months (T4) after delivery, respectively. The study showed a quadratic trend for ED, subthreshold ED and body satisfaction, with a general improvement in the middle of pregnancy and a return to previous levels after delivery. Some interesting significant differences came out among the groups.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Image
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Postpartum Period / psychology
  • Pregnancy / physiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychometrics / methods
  • Surveys and Questionnaires