Food Taboos and Misconceptions Among Pregnant Women of Shashemene District, Ethiopia, 2012
Science Journal of Public Health
Volume 3, Issue 3, May 2015, Pages: 410-416
Received: Apr. 19, 2015; Accepted: May 11, 2015; Published: May 15, 2015
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Nejimu Biza Zepro, Department of Nursing, College of Health Sciences, Samara University, Samara, Afar, Ethiopia
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Background: A food considered as a taboo is strictly forbidden, for health, cultural or spiritual reasons. Food taboos are known from virtually all human societies and may be found in various forms all over the world. Pregnancy is viewed as a critical period in the life of women and is usually subjected to a number of food taboos as a way of safeguarding their lives and that of the unborn baby. Poor maternal nutrition, especially in rural settings, adversely affects pregnancy and birth outcomes. In many local communities, pregnant women have food taboos with consequent depletion of vital nutrients. Malnutrition is one of the most serious health problems affecting children and their mothers in Ethiopia. As a result, there is lack of comprehensive information regarding practices and the factors associated with them in the study area. Therefore this study was aimed at measuring women who are likely to have certain taboos/misconceptions during pregnancy among pregnant women attending ANC services in public health institutions of shashemene district. Method: An institution based descriptive cross-sectional study design followed by Simple random sampling technique was used for 295 pregnant women, who are attending ANC service from public health institutions of Shashemene district. The Data was coded, entered in to EPI info 3.5.1 and exported to SPSS version 20.0 for further analysis. Frequencies, percentages, crude odds Ratio, 95% Confidence Intervals and multiple logistic-regressions were analyzed. Finally, the result of the study was presented using texts, figures and tables. Result: one half (49.8%) of total pregnant mothers encountered food taboos at least for one food item. food items avoided were, linseed 92 times, honey 84 times, milk 67 times, fatty meat 63 times, eggs 50 times, fruits 41 times and vegetables 17 times. Reasons mentioned for avoidance of this food item; Plastered on the fetal head, makes fatty baby and difficult delivery, fear of abortion, evil eye, fetal abnormality. Educational status showed a significant association with belief of balanced diet. Conclusion: The study revealed that food taboos and traditional beliefs relating to pregnancy exist and larger proportion of women still believes in old unscientific tales. This can be improved by strengthening the nutrition counseling component of ANC which was inadequate in the ANC package received. Empowering community based health workers in providing effective nutrition counseling should be explored. There is a need for nutrition education and awareness generation among women; Increasing literacy status to reduce taboos/misconceptions.
Food, Taboo, Misconceptions, Pregnant Women, Shashemene, Ethiopia
To cite this article
Nejimu Biza Zepro, Food Taboos and Misconceptions Among Pregnant Women of Shashemene District, Ethiopia, 2012, Science Journal of Public Health. Vol. 3, No. 3, 2015, pp. 410-416. doi: 10.11648/j.sjph.20150303.27
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