Food Intake Barriers of Pregnant Women: A Study in Pakistan

Muhammad Asim
Elena Neiterman, University of Waterloo
Yasir Nawaz, University of Sargodha
Widen Elizebath, University of Texas at Austin

In Pakistan, after conceiving pregnancy, the food intake for pregnant women drastically decreases. The objective of the present study was to explore the major barriers of adequate food intake during pregnancy. The data were collected from women and key informants through in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. Low food intake due to pregnancy sickness, fear of high blood pressure, food cravings, and a lack of awareness about the diet during pregnancy were the individual factors that contribute to low food intake during pregnancy. The concept of hot and cold food taboos, fear of having a larger child, and household decision making of food intake of pregnant women were the socio-cultural beliefs, and a lack of affordability of nutritious foods (economic barriers) were all hindering food intake during pregnancy. It is suggested that the misconception of food intake during pregnancy should be discouraged in antenatal care visits through proper counseling.

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 Presented in Session 4. Marriage, Family, Households, & Unions