Topical Area: Global Nutrition
Many Bangladeshi women consume a diet that is low in nutrients, and in addition do not gain enough weight during pregnancy. We sought out to identify practices and perceptions that act as barriers to consuming both enough food and nutrient-dense foods during the pregnancy period. We also asked women where they received support and information regarding their pregnancy.
We randomly selected households in two villages of the Kishorganj district in rural Bangladesh and conducted purposive sampling to identify households with currently pregnant women. Women were invited to a central location to attend a focus group discussion (FGD) in a small group of other pregnant women. Discussion guides were created based on barriers to healthy eating that had been documented in the literature in similar settings. All interviews were conducted in Bengali with a trained field staff. Interviews were recorded and transcribed in Bengali. Data reduction was achieved by using an analytic questionnaire.
Four focus group discussions were carried out with 40 pregnant women, of which the average age was 24 years. Data collection was done during the month of May 2017. Some women reported that they increased their food consumption during pregnancy, while others reported that they had trouble consuming enough food as fatigue and nausea decreased their desire to eat. Regardless of amount, most women reported consumption patterns of rice and vegetables daily, fish weekly, and meat fortnightly. However, many women reported the avoidance of certain foods such as specific fish, fruits, and vegetables according to the advice from the family members and/or health care providers. Additionally, we uncovered some knowledge gaps regarding recommended weight gain during pregnancy. Family members, neighbors, and health workers were found as part of the support system for pregnant women.
Women overall have many positive dietary practices in this region of rural Bangladesh, but there is potential to increase both the quality and quantity with additional community-wide sensitization on nutrition. Community health programs may consider incorporating more messages on nutrition during pregnancy for all family members and rural health care providers.
Funding Sources : Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
James P Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University