Background: Body image satisfaction in pregnancy may have an important influence on maternal biopsychosocial outcomes.
Purpose: This study aims to examine the mediating influence of trimesters 2 and 3 body image satisfaction on trimesters 2 and 3 depressive symptoms, exercise behavior, and gestational weight gain.
Methods: Pregnant women (N = 151; mean age = 30) prospectively completed study measures via mail during their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd trimesters.
Results: As predicted, trimesters 2 and 3 body image satisfaction mediated the relationship between trimester 1 body image satisfaction and trimester 2 depressive symptoms and the relationship between trimester 2 body image satisfaction and trimester 3 depressive symptoms. In contrast to the hypothesis, no mediation was observed for the relationship between body image satisfaction and exercise behavior or gestational weight gain.
Conclusions: These preliminary findings demonstrate that body image satisfaction is an important psychological determinant of depressive symptoms in pregnancy. Promoting healthy body image may be a non-pharmacological strategy that offers protective effects against depressive symptoms during pregnancy.