The present study evaluated body image, body satisfaction and dieting practices in pregnancy: a stage of life when social pressures for slimness might be expected to be relaxed. Pregnant women had lower scores on the Drive for Thinness subscale of the Eating Disorder Inventory, and when Body Mass Index was controlled for, had significantly lower Body Dissatisfaction Scale scores than non-pregnant women. They also rated themselves as less overweight in terms of body size. Dietary restraint was lower and current attempts to lose wieght were less frequent in the pregnant group. However, there was no evidence that pregnancy was associated with any relaxation of body image ideals: pregnant women chose a similar size of figure to non-pregnant women as their ideal. These results suggest that the state of pregnancy can be associated with reduced weight concern despite an increased body size, but the effect appears to be state-dependent and is not mediated by shifts in body size ideals. © 1994.
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