Food Related Taboos and Misconception during Pregnancy and Breast feeding among women of Rural and Urban areas of Anantapur District
Keywords:Food related taboos, misconceptions, hot foods and cold foods, Exclusive breast feeding.
Background: In India, dietary habits of pregnant women are influenced by food fads, cultural taboos and religious beliefs. Hence knowledge about these misconceptions is necessary to educate the society regarding intake of healthy food during pregnancy and exclusive breast feeding practices. Objective: To evaluate the beliefs, practices and superstitions related to food during antenatal and post-partum period & breastfeeding and to asses factors influencing breastfeeding practice. Materials & Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted among the women of reproductive age group at Anantapur district. A pre designed validated questionnaire was used to study the food related taboos in them during pregnancy and breast feeding practices. Results: A total of 600 women between the age of 20-35 years with mean age of 24.5 and ± 4.3 years participated in the study.Around 90% of study subjects classified some foods as hot and cold and avoided the as they would adversely affect them and the baby. Papaya, pine apple, curd, fused bananas, black grapes and poultry meat were commonly avoided food. Twenty percent of women did not feed colostrum because of taboos. Conclusion: The study revealed that food taboos and traditional beliefs relating to pregnancy exist in larger proportion of women and they still believe in old unscientific tales. This can be improved by empowering community based health workers to provide effective nutrition counseling to the mothers. There is a need for nutrition education and awareness generation among women. Increasing literacy status also reduces taboos/misconceptions.
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Copyright (c) 2022 S. Nissar Begum, Chinta Aruna Jyothi, R. Swetha
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