Social media’s impact on postpartum women’s body image

Research has presented the negative impact that social media has on postpartum womens’ body image. Social media creates negative body image and unsustainable expectations on mothers, which puts women at a higher risk of eating disorders, depression and other mental health problems.

The statistic has showed 96 to 99 percent of the women aged 18 to 39 use social media. This means that nearly all women who give birth in Australia are at risk of developing body image issues due to social media’s negative influence.

A new research by Emma Norman (Physical Activity Australia Member) has looked at women in Queensland, aged 20 to 24, who are between six weeks and six months postpartum, and suffer from body image issues due to social media’s negative influence on body image. The Social Cognitive Theory proposes that human behaviour is influenced by cognitive, environmental and behavioural factors. The environmental factors include societal beauty standards, norms and ideals. Personal factors include personal traits, knowledge, self-esteem and self-objectification. Behavioural factors refer to the consumption of social media, social comparison and self-talk.

Today there are many reasons for using social media which competes with this intervention’s aim to reduce the target audience’s social media consumption. The literature revealed that social media’s impact on body image can be reduced by increasing knowledge, avoiding social comparison, limiting social media consumption and focusing on body functionality. Therefore, this research suggests it may be more beneficial to help the postpartum women manage the impact of social media through various tactics that focus on body functionality, avoiding social comparison and increased knowledge, instead of trying to eliminate the social media consumption completely.

Read the full article here.

Written by: Emma Norman [email protected]