Psychological predictors and postpartum weight retention – The role of body image during pregnancy and postpartum (Dr. Michaela Nagl, Prof. Dr. Anette Kersting)

Pregnancy-related weight retention is a major risk factor of long-term maternal obesity and increases the risk of perinatal complications in subsequent pregnancies. Hence, limiting postpartum weight retention (PWR) should be a major target in health care. Understanding the factors that contribute to PWR is essential to design effective interventions.

The present study aims at examining the role of maternal body image and maternal psychological factors in the prediction of weight retention 6 months after delivery. The study is based on a multifactorial, empirically derived conceptual model of PWR, in which maternal body image and psychological factors mediate the relationship between maternal physiological and physical weight factors, maternal socio-contextual and medical factors, and maternal behavior. The multifactorial model will be tested empirically within a prospective study including assessment points during the second (T1: 18–22 weeks of gestation) and third trimester of pregnancy (T2: 33–37 weeks of gestation), and 3 and 6 months postpartum. Participating pregnant women will be recruited in person during prenatal diagnostic sessions at the Department of Obstetrics (University of Leipzig). Data will be recorded via established self-report questionnaires and main analyses will be conducted using path analysis and hierarchical multiple linear regression analysis. The results of the study will provide important knowledge to improve the understanding of PWR and deliver implications for future interventions.

Duration: 01.11.2017 – 30.04.2020


Heads of project:

Dr. Michaela Nagl

Head of project

+49 341 97-18941

Michaela [dot] Nagl [at] medizin [dot] uni-leipzig [dot] de

Prof. Dr. Anette Kersting

Member: internal board
Director Clinic for Psychosomatic Medicine, University of Leipzig
Head of project

+49 341 97-18850

anette [dot] kersting [at] medizin [dot] uni-leipzig [dot] de