Pregnancy is a crucial period of every woman’s life. At this stage nutritional status of woman is very essential as it affects the pregnancy outcome. Inadequate nutrition during pregnancy may have unfavorable effects on fetus. It is also seen that the diet during pregnancy is related to the disease pattern of the resulting child in adult life. Inadequate nutrition may lead to problems like premature delivery, low birth weight babies, anemia, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes, obesity to mother and child. During pregnancy, energy requirement of women increases by 330 Kcal per day and protein by 15 gram per day (NIN, ICMR 2011). Nutrient deficiency can be due to inadequate intake of protein, energy, Vitamin C, iron, etc but by other conditions like environmental factors, socio-economic factors, malaria, and worm infestation. Social, economic and cultural factors are associated with maternal poor nutrition intake which can result into still birth, premature birth, and low birth weight babies. Previous study has shown prominent ethnic differences during postpartum period. Intake of adequate amount of vitamins and minerals in adolescent and preconception phase reduce risk of neural tube defects among neonates. Pregnant women must be well nourished to meet the demands of her offspring, her own body needs, and to prepare her body for lactation. The harmful effects of nutrient deficiencies, especially from the conception period, are well established and documented. Therefore, early detection of nutritional deficiency among pregnant women is very essential in order to improve the pregnancy outcome and reduction of maternal mortality. Further it is essential to identify under privileged pregnant woman with poor nutritional status in order to give nutrition education for improving their dietary quality. The avoidance of certain food items and incorrect knowledge regarding their benefits can deprive women from adequate nutrition, especially during the critical periods of pregnancy when it is of great benefit to the mother and her fetus. Multiple factors influence the dietary choices of pregnant women that may increase the risk of excessive gestational weight gain. Several of these factors converge for portharcourt women who are low income and reside in an urban setting. Maternal nutrition before and during pregnancy is an important determinant of birth weight. High rate of Low Birth Weight (LBW) in developing countries has been attributed to poor maternal nutrition (Ogunjuyigbe et al., 2008). Pregnancy is a time of tremendous physiological change that demands healthy dietary lifestyle choices. Growing fetus draws a lot of energy and nutrients from the mother to enhance physical and psychological development (Ojo and Briggs, 2010). In developing countries such as Nigeria, it is paramount to states that low birth weight stems primarily from the mother’s poor health and nutrition, and inadequate nutrition during pregnancy accounts for a large proportion of growth retardation (Hareyan, 2005). Malnutrition has been recognized as one of the underlying factor for maternal death during the process of procreation. The causes of malnutrition are multidimensional and multi-factorial with poverty, food inadequacy and maternal illiteracy being the main culprit of the menace in developing countries. The health of the mother and her nutritional status can influence the health and survival of the child because of the biological links that exist between her and her child during pregnancy and lactation (Ogunjuyigbe et al., 2008). In Nigeria, there are some adverse socio-cultural and economical factors that produced negative consequences and reduce women’s access to effective ante-natal services needed to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality. The most important of these are the low socioeconomic status of women that deny them access to appreciable decision-making with regard to their reproductive functions, high level of female illiteracy which is a leading cause of poor health seeking behavior for maternity services among Nigerian women and high rate of poverty that predominantly affects women leading to inadequate dietary intakes, high rate of pregnancy complications and women’s reduced access to evidence based maternity services ( Ogunjuyibe, 2000). Maternal diet is an important determinant of outcomes of pregnancy as such malnutrition during pregnancy and its consequence maximally affects the health and long-term outcomes of the population. Anecdotal observation during clinical experience at portharcourt Ante-natal clinic showed that most of the pregnant women receiving antenatal care had signs of malnutrition. It is in view of this that the researcher intends to investigate those factors affecting dietary choices among pregnant woman attending health care facilities in portharcourt municipal.
Pregnancy is a crucial period of every woman’s life. At this stage nutritional status of woman is very essential as it affects the pregnancy outcome. Inadequate nutrition during pregnancy may have unfavorable effects on fetus. It is in view of this that the researcher intends to investigate those factors affecting dietary choices among pregnant woman attending health care facilities in portharcourt municipal.
The main objective of this study is to assess the factors affecting dietary choices among pregnant women attending healthcare facilities in portharcourt. But for the successful completion of the study; the researcher intends to achieve the following sub-objectives;
For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;
H0: there is no factors affecting dietary choices among pregnant women
H1: there is factors affecting dietary choices among pregnant women
H02: there is no significant relationship between factors affecting dietary choices and pregnant women
H2: there is a significant relationship between factors affecting dietary choices and pregnant women