Memorable Messages About Fat Bodies Before, During, and After Pregnancy

Health Commun. 2022 Oct 5;1-11. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2022.2131982. Online ahead of print.


Weight bias is prevalent for people in large bodies who are trying to conceive, pregnant, or postpartum. Using the theory of memorable messages as a framework, we explored the sources, valence, and content of messages that fat individuals (N = 237) recalled about their bodies before pregnancy through the postpartum stage. The most common source of memorable messages was healthcare providers, and most (77.2%) messages were negatively valenced. Thematic analysis revealed four overarching themes (fat mothers are bad mothers, denial of competent treatment, weight-normative commentary on fat bodies, and weight-inclusive counter-narratives). Our findings illuminate the significance of patient-practitioner communication across the pregnancy trajectory and highlight how counter-narratives can disrupt negative messages about fat pregnancy.