Disordered eating symptoms remain a largely unidentified and unsupported area in perinatal healthcare, particularly as they pertain to women without diagnosed eating disorders. In an Australian prospective cohort study, women aged 18-48, completed questionnaires between: 18-24 weeks gestation (n = 249, T1), 30-32 weeks gestation (n = 151, T2) and 8-10 weeks postpartum (n = 124, T3), measuring disordered eating symptoms, psychosocial factors (attitudes to pregnancy or motherhood, self-compassion, relationship satisfaction and perinatal social support) and mental health factors (depressive or anxiety symptoms). Multilevel linear models examined predictive associations between psychosocial factors at T1 and the change in disordered eating symptoms from T1 to T2 and from T1 to T3, in addition to the moderating effects of pre-pregnancy BMI and pregnancy depressive or anxiety symptoms. Whilst restraint and shape concerns decreased from T1 to T2, restraint, shape and weight concerns increased from T1 to T3. Psychosocial factors at T1 were able to predict the change in some disordered eating symptoms. Moreover, when pre-pregnancy BMI or pregnancy depressive or anxiety symptoms were elevated, the impact of psychosocial factors on disordered eating increased. The findings of this study provide a more complex understanding of disordered eating across the perinatal period, with implications for future interventions and research design.
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