Pregnancy is a transformative time for women and their bodies, and therefore thoughts and feelings and about one’s own body and internal bodily sensations may understandably change during this period. Body satisfaction and interoception have been found to influence factors such as antenatal attachment (AA) and maternal mental health. However, mixed results in the literature suggest complex relationships between the bodily experience during pregnancy and outcomes, necessitating a broader investigative approach. We aim to examine the relationship between the pregnancy bodily experience and multiple mother–infant outcomes. It is hypothesised that poor bodily experiences during pregnancy will have negative impacts on these outcomes. Cross-sectional online survey data was collected from individuals at various gestations throughout pregnancy as part of a larger longitudinal study (N = 253, mean age = 32). We analysed validated measures of pregnancy body satisfaction, interoceptive sensibility, AA and mood, as well as intentions to breastfeed. Linear regressions were used to confirm findings from previous literature and a network analysis allowed for a more exploratory approach to understanding the importance of the bodily experience during pregnancy. Multiple regressions found low body satisfaction predicts higher levels of anxiety, depression and AA. A network analysis revealed relationships between body satisfaction and interoception during pregnancy and mother–infant outcomes, including depression and AA. Our results highlight the far-reaching effects of poor bodily experiences during pregnancy on a variety of outcomes. Understanding the impact of the pregnant bodily experience can help identify at-risk individuals and inform interventions.

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This post is Copyright: Lydia Beatrice Munns,
Catherine Preston | May 20, 2024
Wiley: Journal of Neuropsychology: Table of Contents