This study was carried out to assess the nutritional knowledge practices on the health of pregnant women in Mayo-Dassa Jalingo, Taraba State. Specifically, the study assessed the knowledge of pregnant mothers with regard to maternal nutrition, determined the extent nutritional practices are carried out by pregnant women in Mayo-Dassa Jalingo, Taraba State, examined the effects of malnutrition on the health of pregnant women in Mayo-Dassa Jalingo, Taraba State and, examined the nutritional challenges pregnant women in Mayo-Dassa Jalingo, Taraba State face. The study employed the survey descriptive research design. A total of 141 responses were validated from the survey. The study adopted the Pender’s Health Promotion Model. From the responses obtained and analysed, the findings on the effects of malnutrition on the health of pregnant women in Mayo-Dassa Jalingo, Taraba State include obstructed labour, premature or low-birth-weight babies, postpartum haemorrhage and, anaemia. Furthermore, the findings revealed that most pregnant women’s are knowledgeable about maternal nutrition. The findings further revealed that the extent of nutritional practices carried out by pregnant women in Mayo-Dassa Jalingo, Taraba State is very high. The study recommends that health talks should be encouraged on each antenatal day and nurses should put more emphasis on nutrition.
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Nutritional knowledge has been proven to play a very vital role in adopting optimal nutrition practices in the health of every expectant mother.As a matter of fact, health and nutritional status of the population of a nation is an important indicator of development of the country (Taleb, Kaibi, & Deghboudj, 2011). A nutrition survey carried out in India observed that the nutritional status of pregnant and lactating and infants is not satisfactory. According to L.M. (2010), this is probably due to lack of basic knowledge regarding proper nutrition and wrong customs prevalent in the community besides non availability and low intake of food. 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 behaviour 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 (Obionu, 2006). 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 (Obionu, 2006). Pregnancy is a time of tremendous physiological change that demands healthy dietary lifestyle choices. Growing foetus draws a lot of energy and nutrients from the mother to enhance physical and psychological development (Oni, &Tukur, 2012). In developing countries like Nigeria, it is essential 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 (Igbokwe, 2012). 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 (Obionu, 2006).
There is an important factor under nutrition that is responsible for high infant mortality rate, maternal mortality rate and also for low birth weight of infants. Appropriate nutritional practice on the other hand plays a pivotal role in determining optimal health and development of infants (Fasola, Abosede, & Fasola, 2018). There is abundant epidemiological evidence that poor prenatal nutrition predisposes the offspring to diseases in its later life.Inadequate nutrition is the predominant factor leading to malnutrition, which can be expressed as either under nutrition or over nutrition. Corsi, Kyu, & Subramanian, (2011) pointed out that under nutrition occurs when there is not only inadequate energy but also a lack or imbalance of specific food components and nutrients. In addition to sufficient energy, adequate supplies of macronutrients and micronutrients are required to promote optimum growth. The proportions and amounts of these nutrients may change according to the various stage of growth.There have been considerable changes in human lifestyle all over the world in the recent decades. Especially in recent years, the lifestyle has rapidly been changed. These changes appeared in diet, types of food, cooking time, etc. Nowadays processed foods are rapidly replacing organic food. Another change is the rapid increase in the number of restaurants and in people’s tendency to eat fast food. Proper nutrition is one of the most important aspects of lifestyle (Daly, Azefor, & Nasah, 1993). Epidemiological evidence shows that there is an increased incidence of diseases such as (Cardiovascular diseases, obesity, high blood pressure and cancer), which can be attributed to changes in lifestyle as well as changes in nutritional habits. Nutritional education is also one of the important aspects that play a big role in nutritional knowledge by raising awareness and ultimately the health of the society (Awosika, 2001). In order to remain healthy and physically active and enjoy a healthier life style it is necessary to obtain good nutritional knowledge and implement it. The knowledge, attitude and practice must be considers in expectant mothers in order to promote society health. Awosika, (2001) opines that from time immemorial it has been recognized that the pregnant and lactating women form one of the most nutritionally vulnerable segments of the population; the ill effects of maternal under nutrition affect not only the mother but also her offspring.In order to bring about change in the level of nutritional knowledge and practices prevailing people regarding nutrition, an attempt was made here to provide an awareness regarding nutritional knowledge practices on the health of pregnant women in Mayo-Dassa Jalingo, Taraba State.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In our society, there is strong attachment to beliefs and cultural norms even among the educated ones (Arimond, & Ruel, 2004). While we agree that some of these beliefs and the practices are good, the others may not be so good. Recorded advances in medicine and medical services not withstanding, majority of the pregnant women seem to prefer taking instruction on nutrition and antenatal healthcare than from traditional birth attendants (Awosika, 2001). This diverse information have effect on the health of pregnant women thus the need to carry out this study on effect of nutritional knowledge, beliefs and practices on the health of pregnant women.
Understanding what they eat and what they forbid or abhor will enable the health worker structure a balance diet for them in line with available local food stuffs. Also, finding a means of spreading health talk on nutrition during pregnancy.
OBJECTIVES OF THE PROBLEM
The primary objective of this study is to assess nutritional knowledge practices on the health of pregnant women in Mayo-Dassa Jalingo, Taraba State. Specifically, but not limited to, other objectives of this study are:
- To assess knowledge of pregnant mothers with regard to maternal nutrition
- To determine the extent nutritional practices are carried out by pregnant women in Mayo-Dassa Jalingo, Taraba State.
- To examine the effects of malnutrition on the health of pregnant women in Mayo-Dassa Jalingo, Taraba State.
- To examine the nutritional challenges pregnant women in Mayo-Dassa Jalingo, Taraba State face
The following research questions which are in line with the objectives will be answered in this study:
- Are pregnant women knowledgeable about maternal nutrition?
- To what extent are nutritional practices carried out by pregnant women in Mayo-Dassa Jalingo, Taraba State?
- What are the effects of malnutrition on the health of pregnant women in Mayo-Dassa Jalingo, Taraba State?
- What are the nutritional challenges pregnant women in Mayo-Dassa Jalingo, Taraba State face?
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is believed that at the end of this study the findings will be of utmost benefits to every pregnant women as it serves as a means of curtailing the effects of malnutrition on their health. The ministry of health will also learn a great deal from the findings as