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The Impact of Weight Stigma Among Women with High Weight on Maternal and Birth Outcomes: A Scoping Review

Bowden, Adena L (2023) The Impact of Weight Stigma Among Women with High Weight on Maternal and Birth Outcomes: A Scoping Review. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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Background: Weight stigma is a pervasive and normalized form of discrimination that significantly impacts the health of individuals with high weight. As the prevalence of individuals who are considered overweight or obese continues to increase, a larger population is at risk of experiencing weight-based discrimination. Weight stigma has not been fully examined in the context of prenatal and postpartum populations, who are already vulnerable to environmental, social, and physical factors, and little is known about the potential health consequences of experiencing weight stigma during pregnancy. Given how other forms of discrimination during pregnancy can lead to serious negative health outcomes for both mothers and their infants, research on the impacts of weight stigma experienced during pregnancy is needed to fully understand the associations that exist independent of the risks of high weight.
Objective: To characterize the extent and nature of the body of literature in the US that examines the impact of weight stigmatization in the prenatal healthcare setting experienced by women with high weight on maternal health and birth outcomes.
Methods: A search strategy was developed to identify literature that explored the health consequences of experiencing weight stigma in the prenatal healthcare environment among pregnant and postpartum women with a BMI ≥ 25.0 kg/m2. A systematic search was conducted in Ovid Medline on September 23, 2022. Studies published in the United States in 2000 or later were included.
Results: Six studies were included in this review, five of which were qualitative, and one was a prospective longitudinal design. Three major outcomes were discussed in the included articles: (1) breastfeeding, (2) infant health, and (3) maternal health. Weight stigma was significantly associated with an increased risk of gestational diabetes, depressive symptoms, perceived stress, maladaptive eating behavior, increased weight gain, greater excess weight gain, and postpartum weight retention.
Conclusions: Weight stigma is associated with serious negative maternal health outcomes. Additional research examining the factors that contribute to weight stigma in the prenatal healthcare setting and related health outcomes is needed to improve the delivery of prenatal health care and, as a result, improve public health outcomes for mothers and their children.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Bowden, Adena LADB194@pitt.eduADB194
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBertolet, Marniemhb12@pitt.edumhb12UNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberMair, Christinacmair@pitt.educmairUNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberMonk, Lizmonk.e@pitt.edumonk.eUNSPECIFIED
Date: 4 January 2023
Date Type: Completion
Submission Date: 12 December 2022
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 64
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: maternity, pregnancy outcomes, prenatal care, overweight, obesity, weight stigma, weight bias, weight discrimination
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2023 14:44
Last Modified: 04 Jan 2023 14:44


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