Food taboos among pregnant and lactating mothers in Tumkur: a qualitative study
Keywords:Nutrition, Taboos, Pregnancy, Lactation
Background: Maternal nutrition has a huge impact on the health of the mother and the fetus. Pregnancy imposes the need for considerable extra calorie and nutrient requirements. A food taboo is a prohibition against consuming certain foods. The restrictions imposed on people forces them to abstain from certain food and drinking items as these things are embedded into the cultural and religious threads.
Methods: A qualitative study was conducted between July 2014 and September 2014. Study was conducted in urban and rural field practice area of Sri Siddhartha medical college, Tumkur, Karnataka. Study involved three groups Mother –in- laws Anganwadi workers, Pregnant and lactating women. Six Focus group discussions were conducted and four themes were used. Quantitative data was tabulated and analyzed using SPSS version 16.
Results: All most all women under the study followed some form of restrictive diet. Many nutritive and locally available foods were avoided which includes fruits, vegetables, pulses and green leafy vegetables. Special foods rich in energy were consumed during post-partum period. Concept of hot and cold food is prevailing high and there was no scientific reasoning given for the taboo. Anganwadi workers who are front line health workers were believed in the many of the food taboos.
Conclusions: Food taboos in this community are deep rooted. Avoidance of nutritive food was common in both the religion. Many misconceptions are prevalent which do not have scientific basis. Maternal nutrition needs to be prioritized at community level among family members and front line workers. Anganwadi workers need to be sensitized regarding different beliefs about food consumption during pregnancy and lactation.
Lakshmi G. Food preferences and taboos during ante natal period among the tribal women of the north coastal Andhra Pradesh. Journal of community nutrition and health. 2013;2(2):32-3.
Taboo. Available at https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Taboo. Accessed on 11 January 2017.
Colding J, Folke C. The relations among threatened species, their protection and taboos. Ecol Soc. 1997;1(1):6.
Food and drink prohibitions. Available at https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_and_drink_prohibitions. Accessed on 11 January 2017.
Benno V, Meyer-Rochow. Food taboos: their origins and purposes. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2009;5:18.
Park K. Parks Text book of preventive and social medicine. 23rd edition. India: Banarasidas Bhanot Publishers; 2015: 652.
Ankita P, Hardika K, Girija K. A study on taboos and misconceptions associated with pregnancy among rural women of Surendranagar district. Healthline. 2013;4:40-3.
Daivadanam M, Wahlström R, Thankappan KR, Ravindran TK. Balancing expectations amidst limitations: the dynamics of food decision-making in rural Kerala. BMC Public Health. 2015;15:644.
Shomya S. Taboos in Food Practices during Pre and Post-natal Period: A Comparative Study between Tribal and Non- Tribal Women in Odisha. A Dissertation Submitted to the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, National Institute of Technology, Rourkela. 2015.
Triandis HC. Individualism-collectivism and personality. J Pers. 2001;69:907-24.
Patil R, Mittal A, Vedapriya DR, M Iqbal Khan, Raghavia M. Taboos and misconceptions about food during pregnancy among rural population of Pondicherry. Calicut Med J. 2010;8(2):4.
Luzzi EG. Food avoidance of pregnant women in Tamil Nadu Food. Ecol Cult Readings Anthropol Diet Pract. 1980;101–8.
Puri S, Kapoor S. Taboos and myths associated with women's health among rural and urban adolescent girls in Punjab. Indian J Community Med. 2006;31(4):4.
Ramakrishnan U, Lowe A, Vir S. Public health interventions, barriers, and opportunities for improving maternal nutrition in India. Food Nutr Bull. 2012;33(2):71-92.
Mukhopadhyay S, Sarkar A. Pregnancy related food habits among women of rural Sikkim, India, Public health nutrition. Public Health Nutr. 2009;12(12):2317-22.
Surekha R . Assessment of infant feeding practices, cost and attitude of mothers towards infant feeding in Hyderabad city. Msc Dissertation, Andhra Pradesh Agricultural university, 1994.
Pendse V, Giri I. pregnancy care practices in rural Rajasthan. J Fam Welf. 1989;35(6):53-75.