Changes in satisfaction with body in pregnant women participating in physical exercise classes and childbirth classes
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Submission date: 2014-02-22
Acceptance date: 2014-02-23
Online publication date: 2014-08-06
Publication date: 2014-08-08
Health Psychology Report 2014;2(3):152–161
During pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes major transformation contrary to the present ideal image of a slim body shape. Satisfaction with the body is important for a pregnant woman because it is one of the factors that determine her physical and mental well-being. The aim of this study was to compare the changes in the satisfaction with the body in women who regularly participated in physical exercise classes (experimental group) and in women who attended traditional childbirth classes (control group).

Participants and procedure
The research included 74 women aged 22-37 years in the second and third trimesters of their first pregnancy. The experimental group consisted of 39 pregnant women who participated in physical exercise classes from the Active Nine Months program for pregnant women. The control group consisted of 36 pregnant women who participated in typical childbirth classes twice a week. The Body Shape Test for Pregnant Women and the modified version of the Body Satisfaction Scale were used.

After two months, women in both groups perceived their body shape as significantly bigger; the ideal figure became plumper, and the disparity between the actual and the ideal figure increased. Dissatisfaction with torso, motor skills, and appearance did not change in the experimental group; a significant increase of dissatisfaction with appearance and motor skills was observed in the control group.

Regular physical exercise helps pregnant women to maintain positive attitudes towards their body.
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