Researchers seek feedback from first time mothers-to-be
Fashion magazines andnewspapers that do acknowledge pregnancy tend to focus firmly on celebritymothers-to-be, in particular, their stillslender and almost "perfect" appearanceduring pregnancy and their ability to rapidly lose their baby weight after thebirth. This suggest a difference between the bodily changes experienced by themajority of women during pregnancy and the expectations they may have given themedia and celebrity culture. Whilst women tend to accept that their ownpregnancy experience may not mirror what they read in popular magazines, thepressure is still there to "measure up".
In a follow-up study, the Psychology researchteam, led by PhD student, Nova Deighton-Smith, spoke to first-time, pregnant mothers-to-bewho also said that whilst they experienced the elation of becoming pregnant,their first trimester was a rather troubling time when thinking about theirappearance. For example, many of the women had not yet announced theirpregnancy to friends or colleagues; however the changes in the shape of theirbodies and early weight gain made thedecision to either 'conceal' or 'reveal' their pregnancy a challenging one.
Following this study, the team nowseeks to gather data from a greater number of women to be able to explore theirattitudes to the social and cultural expectations about appearance and to explorethe relationships between body image and a wide range of psychological, physicalhealth and lifestyle factors.
Nova said: "We are inviting women whoare currently pregnant for the first time to take part in an online survey,which takes approximately 60 minutes to complete. The survey asks aboutbackground information as well as assessing a range of psychological factorsand lifestyle behaviours. For the most part, we are interested to hear howwomen think and feel about their bodies and appearance in pregnancy, as thisseems to be an area which is often overlooked."
In order to take part, women must beaged 18 years or over and must be first-time pregnant, mothers-to-be. Volunteerswill be given the opportunity to enter a prize draw of £100 worth of HighStreet Gift Vouchers upon completion of the questionnaire. All responses areboth confidential and anonymous. Interested participants are asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org where the survey link and fullinformation about the study will be provided via email.