Background: Pregnancy-related changes in women’s body shape and size predisposes to negative body image. However, the nexus between pregnancy-related body image and Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) is still controvertible. This study assessed the relationship between body image and HRQoL among Nigerian nulligravid, pregnant, and postpartum women.
Methods: 385 women volunteered for this cross-sectional study between November 2016 and January 2017 from two selected clinics in Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria. Body image was assessed using the Body Attitude Questionnaire (BAQ) and Body Shape Questionnaire (BSQ), respectively. HRQoL was assessed using the SF-12 questionnaire. Data was summarized using descriptive statistics. Inferential statistics including Chi-square test was used to test the associations between body image and HRQoL in pregnant and postpartum women. Alpha level was set at P<0.05.
Results: Body attitude satisfaction and pregnancy-related women status was significantly associated with respect to abdomen (P=0.021) and genitalia (P=0.005). Postpartum women were most satisfied with their abdomen (95.2%). There was significant correlation between BAQ score and health perception (P=0.001), emotional functioning (P=0.001), and mental health (P=0.040) scales of the SF-12. There was significant correlation between BSQ score and bodily pain (P=0.020), health perception (P=0.001),
and emotional functioning (P=0.003) scales of the SF-12.
Conclusions: Postpartum women had better body attitude and body shape perception than their pregnant and non-pregnant counterparts. Body attitude is related to HRQoL in non-pregnant, pregnant and postpartum women. Body shape perception is only correlated with bodily pain, health perception and emotional functioning scales of the HRQoL.