Science Journal of Public Health

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Food Taboos and Misconceptions Among Pregnant Women of Shashemene District, Ethiopia, 2012

Received: Apr. 19, 2015    Accepted: May 11, 2015    Published: May 15, 2015
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Abstract

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.

DOI 10.11648/j.sjph.20150303.27
Published in Science Journal of Public Health ( Volume 3, Issue 3, May 2015 )
Page(s) 410-416
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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, provided the original work is properly cited.

Copyright

Copyright © The Author(s), 2024. Published by Science Publishing Group

Keywords

Food, Taboo, Misconceptions, Pregnant Women, Shashemene, Ethiopia

References
[1] Demisse T. Murok N.,etal, food taboos among pregnant women in Hadiya zone, Ethiopian journal of health development, v12, No1, April 1998.24. Sevenhuyen G.P and W/Gebriel z.
[2] CSA, ORC Macro. Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Calverton, Maryland, USA: September; 2005Mihret H., Mesganaw F., Birth preparedness & complications readiness among women in Adigrat town, North Ethiopia: Ethiopian journal of health development, volume22, no.1, 2008, 1-96.
[3] CSA, ORC Macro. Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Calverton, Maryland, USA: September; 2005.
[4] WHO, Magnitude of Reproductive health problems, International journal, 2003.
[5] African Center for Women (1997) Traditional and Cultural Practices Harmful to the Girl- Child, A cross Sectional Review No.1, Economic Commission for Africa.
[6] Food Taboos among Nursing Mothers of Mexico: Maria Irene Santos-Torres and Edgar Vásquez-Garibay,J HEALTH POPUL NUTR 2003 Jun; 21(2):142-149.
[7] RajkumarPatil, Anuj Mitta, etal Taboos and misconceptions about food during pregnancy among rural population of Pondicherry. Calicut Medical Journal 2010;8(2):e4.
[8] Ankita Parmar etal, A study on taboos and misconceptions associated with pregnancy among rural women of Surendranagar district.
[9] Nag, Moni.: Beliefs and Practices About Food During Pregnancy. Economic and Political Weekly. Sept 10, 1994. P.2427-2438.
[10] Ministry of planning and economic development, Food and nutrition unit, social and cultural aspects of food consumption patterns in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa,1992.
[11] Christian Relief and Development Association (1991) Workshop on Nutrition and Family Health, Christian Relief and Development Association, Ethiopia
[12] Scholl T.o, Hedger M.L, etal, Low zinc intake during pregnancy: its association with preterm labour, American journal of epidemiology, 1993:137(10):1115-1124.
[13] Central statistical Authority 2004, Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey, Addis Ababa, 2006.
[14] National Committee on Traditional Practices of Ethiopia (2003) Old Beyond Imagining: Ethiopian Harmful Traditional Practices, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
[15] Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS) 2005 Preliminary Report.
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    Nejimu Biza Zepro. (2015). Food Taboos and Misconceptions Among Pregnant Women of Shashemene District, Ethiopia, 2012. Science Journal of Public Health, 3(3), 410-416. https://doi.org/10.11648/j.sjph.20150303.27

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    Nejimu Biza Zepro. Food Taboos and Misconceptions Among Pregnant Women of Shashemene District, Ethiopia, 2012. Sci. J. Public Health 2015, 3(3), 410-416. doi: 10.11648/j.sjph.20150303.27

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    AMA Style

    Nejimu Biza Zepro. Food Taboos and Misconceptions Among Pregnant Women of Shashemene District, Ethiopia, 2012. Sci J Public Health. 2015;3(3):410-416. doi: 10.11648/j.sjph.20150303.27

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  • @article{10.11648/j.sjph.20150303.27,
      author = {Nejimu Biza Zepro},
      title = {Food Taboos and Misconceptions Among Pregnant Women of Shashemene District, Ethiopia, 2012},
      journal = {Science Journal of Public Health},
      volume = {3},
      number = {3},
      pages = {410-416},
      doi = {10.11648/j.sjph.20150303.27},
      url = {https://doi.org/10.11648/j.sjph.20150303.27},
      eprint = {https://download.sciencepg.com/pdf/10.11648.j.sjph.20150303.27},
      abstract = {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.},
     year = {2015}
    }
    

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    AU  - Nejimu Biza Zepro
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    JF  - Science Journal of Public Health
    JO  - Science Journal of Public Health
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    UR  - https://doi.org/10.11648/j.sjph.20150303.27
    AB  - 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.
    VL  - 3
    IS  - 3
    ER  - 

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Author Information
  • Department of Nursing, College of Health Sciences, Samara University, Samara, Afar, Ethiopia

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