Assessment Of Nutritional Knowledge And Practice On The Health Of Pregnant Women In Mayo-Dassa Jalingo, Taraba State

Project and Seminar Material for Nursing (Science)

Assessment Of Nutritional Knowledge And Practice On The Health Of Pregnant Women In Mayo-Dassa Jalingo, Taraba State


Abstract


The interaction between a pregnant mother and her developing baby are numerous and varied ranging from the food she eats to the kicks of the baby that she feels. What the developing baby feeds on goes a long way in determining its state of health at birth. For a pregnant mother to eat healthfully, she needs to have adequate knowledge of the different component of food. But if the knowledge is not put in practice, it becomes meaningless.
The major objective of this study therefore was to examine the nutritional knowledge and practice of the pregnant women in Mayo-Dassa Jalingo, Taraba State. Because of the large number involved, and the fact that most of the hospital had no maternity, only two hundred and fifty expectant mothers were used. Eight specific objectives and corresponding research questions and six hypotheses were stated and used for the study.

The instrument for data collection was a questionnaire which had three sections. The personal data of the respondents, fourteen questions each on nutritional knowledge and practice respectively. The questionnaire responses on knowledge were two-point scale of Yes and No while that of practices were in three-point scale of “Practice Always”. “Do not practice” and “Practice Rarely”. Data were analyzed using correlation analysis, percentage, ANOVA and multiple t-test of paired comparison. The results showed that all the hypothesis of the study were rejected. The mean (x) percentage of the subjects who indicated knowledge of what constituted good nutrition was greater than those who indicated regular practice. Some correlation existed between the subject’s knowledge of nutrition and their nutritional practice. Education, age and parity influenced their knowledge and practices of nutrition. Based on these results some recommendations were made such as:- (a) Health educators and nutritionists should be invited to give health talks to pregnant women during antenatal clinic. (b) The age, educational level and parity levels of these expectant mothers should be considered during the lessons.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of Study

Eating is one activity most of us take for granted (Donatelle & Davis 1989). At times, according to Donatelle and Davis we are concerned about eating sufficient food that would get us though the day and less attention is given on their nutritional contents. The trend towards a healthful lifestyle calls for healthy eating yet in the effort to eat nutritionally, many people, wonder if they are actually eating a balanced diet or if they have been duped by fed while for some others, any food can go.

Although our choices of food are determined by many factors such as the availability of food in the locality, the money available to purchase these foods, the food supplies including the ways the foods are being processed or prepared and the knowledge and appreciation the individual feels about certain food values (Okafor, 2012), it is important that we realize that we are what we eat and that nutrition has become very important in both preventive and curative healthcare system (United Nations Children Fund, UNICEF 1995). According to UNICEF, dietary factors have been implicated in the etiology of many diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases, cancer and several diseases of children, UNICEF (1995) also pointed the out that Nutrition has shifted from its previous focus on the minimum amount needed to prevent or cure acute deficiency diseases, for example scurvy, and beriberi, to the need to promote health, longitivity and resistance to chronic disorders like cardiovascular diseases, cancer, hypertension, diabetes and even acquires immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). In pregnancy, the importance of nutrition is being emphasized in the newspapers, magazines and health journals and even in many health related television shows to mention but a few.

Nutrition can be defined as the science of food, its use within the body, and its relationship to good health. It includes the study of the major food components – proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals including water and more than 50 various nutrients of which they are composed (Levy, Digman & Shirref, 2014). It is therefore clear that for somebody to eat healthfully he or she must have adequate knowledge of the different components of food we eat.

Nutrition also can be defined as the science that investigates the relationship between physiological functions and the essential elements of the food we eat (Donatelle & Davis 2015). The world book encyclopedia on health (1996) simply puts nutrition as the process by which living things take in foods and use it. It is therefore the study of food and the process of receiving nourishment from the food we eat after digestion and metabolism. Brien (2010) defines it as the study of food and nourishments, examining the nutritional contents of foods, the amount of nutrients required for healthy growth and function and varies for different people.

The extent of practices of nutrition is dependent among other things on the level of knowledge one has about nutrition. According to Ayo (2003) Nutritional knowledge refers to that aspect of education that prepares one for meaningful nutritional practices. Ayo emphasized that every living thing has the right to have access and the right to affordability of nutritious food and at when due. However, Donatelle et. al. (2015) were of the view that many were accessible to vast number of choices of food or to almost every nutrient by implications should have fewer nutritional problems than their counterparts who do not have such affluence but unfortunately, nutritionists according to them, believe that “diet of affluence” were responsible for many of their diseases and disabilities such as heart diseases, certain types of cancer, hypertension, cirrhosis of the liver, tooth decay and chronic obesity.
Nutritional knowledge without practice is not meaningful. Nutritional practice is outward demonstration of nutritional knowledge in our homes, outside our homes and even in social gatherings. Knowledge about nutrition prepares one for meaningful nutritional practices and it is acquired through formal and non-formal education and it is as old as culture itself since the knowledge is passed on from generation to generation and from parents to their offspring. As such every locality has different kinds of foods available to them and are being prepared differently.
Nutritional knowledge and practices are being emphasized upon according to Williams (2017), because of their role in determining the pregnancy outcome as well as the state of health of the mother after childbirth. In support of this, Karger and Basel (2010) emphasized that nutrition is important to expectant mothers because it can spell the
difference between a healthy new born and a sickly child. Karger and Basel advised the expectant mother to follow scientifically – proven – practices to make sure that the baby is healthy and strong when it is bor. This according to them will be achieved by eating food rich in vitamins and nutrients.

An expectant mother according to Crowder (1995) is a woman that is pregnant. According to him, pregnancy is the fertilization of an Ovum and its implementation in a woman’s uterus. He noted further, that for approximately nine months the mother carries the developing child within her and that the pregnancy terminates with delivery of the child, Nash (2012) observed that the relationship that exists between the mother and her unborn child is much. According to her, “even while the child is still in the womb, its genes engage the environment of the womb in an elaborate conversation, which is a two-way dialogue that involves not only the air the mother breathes and the water she drinks but also what drugs she takes, what diseases she contacts and what hardship she suffers” pg24. According to Nash (2003;19) once the beginning embryo is able to obtain good nutrition directly from the mother, development can proceed more rapidly. But if what is obtained form the mother is not nutritional healthy or balanced, so many complications are bound to arise in pregnancy. Williams (2010) noted that hazards increase with age, the number of pregnancies and the intervals between pregnancies influence the nutritional needs of the mother and the out come of pregnancy. Furthermore, Zhn et al (1999) observed that pregnant women that are underweight or overweight and those advanced or young maternal age need nutritional support and counseling programmes that will improve birth weight, decrease infant mortality and improve participant’s diet. Also, White head, (2014) maintained that those women delivering first child at over 30 years old were not nutritionally prepared. This is because at that age upwards, many women had been on some type of weight reduction diet which makes their nutritional status not better than that of many teenagers.

More so, an expectant mother who lacks good education and exposure may be easily deceived by smooth talks of nutritional quacks who advocate fad diets. Not only that, the habits and practices of those who lack good education would be affected by taboos, superstitions and prejudices as Mankinde (2015) noted.

Pre-study investigation from some hospitals within the Local Government Areas revealed that, majority of the women of study start antennal care very late and as such do not start their nutritional supplements early enough. The expectant mothers of these local Government Areas still at these century have children with birth defects of the brain and spinal cord (Neural tube), and other malformation of the bone, have very low birth weight while some are over weight most of the expectant mothers themselves have low resistance, diabetes and many are anemic. All these problems may be associated to poor eating habits. It becomes necessary therefore that an expectant mother should have adequate knowledge of nutrition and should be able to eat nutritionally. The writer therefore, is of the view that if the level of knowledge and practices of nutrition among expectant mothers in Mayo-Dassa Jalingo, Taraba State are identified and adequate information about what constitutes good nutrition is given to them, their nutritional behaviour will improve with motivation.

It is against this background that this topic has been chosen to survey the nutritional knowledge and practices of expectant mothers in Mayo-Dassa Jalingo, Taraba State.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Ayo (2003:20) mentioned that in the World Health organization (WHO) sponsored conference of delegates on 134 countries and 67 United Nations members in 1978, adequate nutrition was classified as “a fundamental human rights” the aim being in pursuance of an acceptable level of nutrition for the people of the world. The women of Mayo-Dassa Jalingo, Taraba State lack the knowledge of good nutrition and this will expose them to diseases associated with malnutrition for example, chronic obesity, tooth decay, overweight & low birth weight and associated problems.

Williams (2010) pointed out that optimal nutrition is a fundamental aspect of therapy for many complication of pregnancy like iron deficiency anemia, Hemorrhagic anemia, megloblastic anemia and toxemia. These health problems have a high morbidity and mortality consequences. Poor nutrition according to Ramakrishna (2008) is a known cause of low birth weight which remains the significant public health problem in many development countries. Nash (2012) clearly stated that although there may be long-term health threat to the fetus, maternal undernourishment which stunts growth even when they are born full-term, may top such lists.

Mayo-Dassa Jalingo, Taraba State is a business city and experience revealed that it has the biggest market in West Africa. Quite a great number of pregnant women in Mayo-Dassa Jalingo, are traders. They also travel a lot to various parts of the country, especially to the northern parts to buy goods for sale. The result is that most times a good number of them sleep many days on the road. Some of the expectant mothers are busy bankers in several banks located in the city. There are nurses, teachers and others, some prefer dining out because they are very busy. A very close look at the expectant mothers revealed that they were lean and not well fed. This is exactly what prompted this study. Also from experience and observation many maternity homes or antenatal clinics in Mayo-Dassa Jalingo rarely give nutritional-talks to expectant mothers and some that give nutritional-talks to expectant mothers do so with inadequate emphasis on its importance to pregnancy outcome. This is far from right and is unlike what is obtainable from some other parts of Nigeria and abroad (overseas) where pregnant women are being educated about what constitutes good nutrition before, during and after childbirth. Pregnant women should be thought what constitutes a healthy diet especially from the local rich foods obtainable for such locality.

To the best knowledge of the researcher no work has been done on these women in the Local government area to determine how much they knew and practice nutrition. It is against his background that this study that this study has been designed to find out the following purpose of the study.


1.3 Significance of the Study

This study is expected to access the levels of knowledge and the practices of nutrition among the expectant mothers in Mayo-Dassa Jalingo. The anticipated results of the study will help in the overall improvement of the health status of the community since the pregnant mothers who prepare meals for the family will get an insight to what constitutes adequate nutrition. This information will be useful to other health professionals who are seeking ways of improving health care. To the government ministries of health and education, this study will help the planners to know the state of knowledge of these women and make preparation for enlightening them. It will help the curriculum planners to incorporate nutrition in school curriculum as well as findings ways of making the students appreciate the need for good nutrition and practice them. Fellow researchers reviewing literature and who wish to learn from the experience of previous researchers on a similar subject will also find the work both useful and stimulating. For future researchers, it will form a baseline for those interested in such areas of study.


1.4 Research Questions

This study is on the nutritional knowledge and practices of the expectant mothers in Mayo-Dassa Jalingo, Taraba State. To achieve this, the following specific research questions were asked.

  1. What are the levels of nutritional knowledge of the sources of food substances possessed by the expectant mothers in Mayo-Dassa Jalingo, Taraba State.
  2. What are the levels of nutritional practice of those expectant mothers of the study?
  3. What is the strength of relationship between the nutritional knowledge and practices of the expectant mother of the study?
  4. What is the level of nutritional knowledge of he expectant mothers of the study based on their levels of education, age and parity?
  5. What is the level of nutritional practices of these expectant mothers of study in relation to their level of education, age and parity?
  6. What is the relationship between the nutritional knowledge and practices of the subjects of study based on their levels of education?
  7. What is the relationship between nutritional knowledge and practices of the subjects in relation to their ages?
  8. What is the relationship between nutritional knowledge and practices of the subjects of study based on their levels of parity?

1.5 Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study was to: determine the nutritional knowledge and practices among expectant mothers in Mayo-Dassa Jalingo, Taraba State.

The specific purposes were:-

  1. Ascertain the level of nutritional knowledge possessed by the expectant mothers in Mayo-Dassa Jalingo, Taraba State.
  2. Determine the level of nutritional practices, of those expectant mothers of study.
  3. Ascertain the relationship between the nutritional knowledge of these expectant mothers’ and those of their practices.
  4. Ascertain the nutritional knowledge of the subjects of study based on their level of education, age and parity.
  5. Determine the nutritional practice of the subjects of study based on their level of education, age and parity.
  6. Determine the relationship between the nutritional knowledge and practices of the subjects of study in relation to their education.
  7. Determine the relationship between the nutritional knowledge and practices of the subjects of study in relation to age.
  8. Determine the relationship between the nutritional knowledge and practices of the subjects of study in relation to parity.

1.6 Research Hypotheses

The major hypothesis of this study was that there was no significant difference between the nutritional knowledge and practices of the expectant mothers of Mayo-Dassa Jalingo, Taraba State.

From this major hypothesis, the following sub-hypotheses have been formulated for the study.

  1. There is no significant difference in the nutritional knowledge and practices of mothers of the study.
  2. There is not significant difference in the level of knowledge of nutrition based on their level of education, age groups and parity.
  3. There is no significant difference in the nutritional practices of expectant mothers of this study in relations education, age groups and parity.
  4. There is no significant in the relationship between the nutritional knowledge and practices of the subjects of study based on their level of education.
  5. There is no significant difference in the relationship between the nutritional knowledge and practices of the subjects of the study in relation to their ages.
  6. There will be no significant difference in the relationship between the nutritional knowledge and practices of the subjects of study based on their parity levels.

1.7 Scope of the Study

This study would not cover every aspect of nutrition. It will be limited to five essential food nutrients including water and fiber as they play important roles in the body. The six essential nutrients to be studied are proteins, vitamins and minerals, simple carbohydrates and fats. Although there are many categories of pregnant women, this study will consider only those that are not vegetarians and those without degenerative health problems that require specific nutrition or dieting like in diabetic, heart and liver cases.


1.8 Operational Definition of Terms

Cultural Factors

These refer to norms or beliefs on foods.

Dietary Intake

This denotes the amount of food taken in the previous 24 hours.

Dietary Practices

Refers to number of meals, amount of nutrients consumed and frequency of food consumption

Knowledge

Refers to the information related to nutrition that an adolescent mother has in respect to dietary practice.

Maternal Factors

Refers to age, education and occupation

Number of Meals

Refer to the number of meals taken focusing on both the main meals and snacks

Nutrition Status

Refer To MUAC of the pregnant adolescents Pregnant


Chapter Five


Discussion, Conclusion and Recommendations

In this chapter, the discussion of findings of the study, implications of the study, as well as summary of the study and conclusions are presented. Recommendation, Limitations of study and suggestions for further studies are also highlighted.


5.1 Discussion:

The Discussion of result was done under the following headings:

  1. Expectant mothers’ general knowledge and practices of nutrition.
  2. Factors that influence knowledge and practice of Nutrition among the expectant, mothers of the study.
  3. Relationship between knowledge and practices of nutrition of the expectant mothers.

Expectant mothers’ general knowledge and practices of nutrition.

Tables 1 and 2 revealed that 73% -94.4% of the expectant mothers of study were knowledgeable about good sources of food substances while 54% -84% of them indicated regular eating of these good food substances. A close look at these tables revealed that good percentage of the subjects had adequate knowledge of fourteen items testing Knowledge of good nutrition.

However, lower percentage observed about the practice of good nutrition on table 3 (x = 83.16% for nutritional Knowledge) indicated that the number of the expectant mothers’ of the study with adequate knowledge of nutrition were greater than the number that actually practiced adequate nutritional practices. This was not expected as one would have thought that their knowledge would have influenced their practices more than what the result showed. Also knowledge about nutrition is supposed to prepare one for meaningful nutritional practices and exposed them to such awareness but because there was no motivation that can affect positive change in their attitude and behaviors to good nutrition, this knowledge was not put into practices.

Poverty or low social status of these expectant mothers would have contributed to this result which is in line with previous studies by Okafor (2000) which confined that factor like the availability of the food in the market, the money they had to spend for food, the way they felt about the food and the sanitation of such food supplies, the way the food was processed and the knowledge and appreciation they had for food values influence good nutritional practices. Also, this result agreed strongly with the findings of Ramkrishnan (2008), which included poverty, women’s status, cultural beliefs and practice as some of the factor responsible to poor nutritional practice.
The result of this study which shows that majority of the expectant mother of study have good knowledge of nutrition.

While most of them could not put the knowledge into practice agrees with Gills (1998) assertion that Knowledge alone did not change behavior but required many factors to motivate an individual to change his/her behaviour.
The researcher strongly thinks that the expectant mothers behaviour toward regular eating of nutritious food substances is natural because human beings are naturally lazy and need serious motivation in almost every serious area of life in other to function effectively. These women might have known what constitutes good diet, but may not know the effects it will have in pregnancy outcome if those foods are not eaten regularity. Percale studies in Boston by Butke and his Co-workers at Harvard school of public health and other similar studies elsewhere as revealed by Williams (1981) showed a high correlation of the prenatal diet with reproductive performance. Also they observed that poor feeding and malnutrition among the pregnant poor women was related to incidence of fetal maternal disease and death.

Further studies by burke which related the diet of expectant mother and outcome of pregnancies showed that most of superior infant were born to mother with good or excellent diet and that all still birth, all premature, all functionally immature and a majority born with morbid congenital defects were delivered by women whose diet had been inadequate during gestation.

So, if these subject are not fully educated about such effects of poor nutrition it will be difficult for them to change their behavior on nutrition in addition, there is great need to improve the social status of these of these expectant mother as well as given them intensified nutrition education and motivational seminars that will also include the proper ways of preparing rich foods that are available in their localities. There is great need to convince these mothers to ignore certain taboos that hinder proper nutritional practices. Karger, Basel (2010) noted that superstitious mother are more likely to believe in so many Myths and wives tales about nutrition and pregnancy, he however advised thatexpectant mothers should follow scientifically – proven practices to make sure that baby is healthy and strong when it is born. These women should be educated about the safe ways of handling and preserving foods so that their nutrient will not be lost.

Further breakdown of the practices of nutrition among the subjects of study, reviewed that only 56.4% of them ate food rich in Vit. B regularly, 59.2% ate Vit. C foods regularly, 61.6% ate Vit .D rich foods regularly, 54.4% for folic and rich foods, 60.4% planned and kept to a balanced food menu regularly. 62.26 drank rich fluids of fresh fruits and vegetables daily especially when thirsty but had no appetite for waters. These percentages were low considering the importance of these nutrients and the level of good nutritional habits and practices that will effectively decrease the number of expectant mothers who may be at the risk of toxemia, premature birth, morbidity among the new born, and infant mortality. These food substances might have neglected because of Ignorance of their values not that they were not available in their local markets or were costly. These women were indicating through this study that they need adequate knowledge motivational that will effect change in their nutritional behavior in such areas.

On the other hands, the number of subject’s of this study that ate foods rich in folic acid was 69.6%. Although this number was not on the low side, more of these expectant mothers were expected to eat these foods regularly considering the risk of birth defects of the brain and spinal cord. Even through expectant to note that birth defects of the brain and spinal cord develop in the twenty- eight day after conception (Williams, 2007). The researcher’s of the view that, at these period many expectant mother have not started going for antenatal where supplements are given, and for the reason that some pregnancies are not planned makes it very necessary that food rich in folic acid like green leaf vegetables, whole grain, yeast, fish, diary foods, kidney, heart, liver, nuts, beans and citrus fruits, B vitamins and other nutrients should be eaten regularly even before pregnancy. This is in line with the warning by Kramer (2003) that multivitamin mineral supplements should not substitute good diet even though they are safe in pregnancy. Kramer advised that they may compliment the daily intake in achieving the nutritional recommendations provided their formation inhibitory factors and potential toxicities were considered. The implication of these findings is that more detailed education and enlightenment are required to enable the subjects understand the implication of not practicing good nutritional habits especially in the listed areas.

Williams (1981) emphasized that vitamins A, B, D, were essential for cell development maintenance of integrity, of epithelial tissues, tooth information, normal bone growth and vision. According to Williams (2007) , there is increased need for B Vitamins during pregnancy since they are important co- enzyme factor in a number of metabolic activities, energy production, functions of muscles and nerve tissues, summer bell.

Bell et al (2007) also revealed that extra fluids apart from water were necessary to increase blood volume by forty-percent as will as refilling the pool of amniotic Fluid and keeps the expectant mothers’ skin soft and smooth, puts more fluid in her bowel by lessoning constipation and the risk of urinary tract infection. When one considers these emphases on the importance of these food substances on the health of a pregnant mother it is obvious that these women of study need proper enlightenment in such food sources. The result of the study in table 3 also showed that 72% of the expectant mother ate fried foods and fattening foods on a regular basis, while 60.8% ate healthier sources of fatty rich foods regularly. Seventy-two percent is on the higher side for such unhealthy nutritional habitat. This result was not expected as one would have thought that their knowledge would have influenced their practices more than the result showed. Although fats play a vital role in the maintenance of healthy skin and hair, insulation of the body organs against shock, maintenance of body temperature among other; Donatelle and Davis (1998) advised that, they should be used sparingly because over consumption can be dangerous since it makes the expectant mother over-weight and pregnancy becomes an unpleasant experience. Brown (1995) in agreement to this added that Excessive weight during pregnancy may also be difficult to lose after delivery.

Factors that Influence Knowledge and Practice of Nutrition among the Expectant Mothers of the Study
Table 5 and 6 showed that educational qualification significantly influenced their knowledge and practices of nutrition. This may not be surprising because the higher the level of education the more one will want to have more knowledge in a particular area of life. On table 4 it was observed that the number of the expectant mothers with tertiary education who had adequate knowledge and practices of nutrition was greater than those of other educational level These groups of women must have acquired more knowledge of nutrition through personal experiences which also influenced their level of nutritional practices. Also a good number of those with secondary education had good knowledge and practices of nutrition. This result is in line with what Isaacs that a woman’s level of education is closely related to her income, and the income of a woman is correlated to her attitude and practices and adequate nutrition.

This result is also in line with the result of the study conducted by Metab (2010) on Tehran and lipid and Glucose study. The finding in that study revealed that age, educational level are factors that can influence knowledge, attitude, practices regarding nutrition.

The implication of this is that good education, at least to secondary school level is very necessary for girl children, bearing in mind their reproducti9ve role and the overall duty of caring for the family members. Also if good nutritional knowledge is acquired in secondary school, it would be enough to carry an expectant mother along if she gets more exposures and knowledge from nutritional campaigns or seminars. An expectant mother that lacks good education and exposure may be easily deceived by smooth talks of nutritional quacks who advocate fad diets (Martins, 1994 and Danjuma, 1997).

Also the habits and practices of those who lack good education would be affected by taboos, superstitions and prejudices as Mankinde (1980) noted.

Concerning ages, the result on table 7 and 14 showed that age of the expectant mother significantly influenced their knowledge and good practice of nutrition. Tables 4 and 11 also show that very few mothers that were 15-21 years (x = 11.209 and 8.57) and 36years and above (x = 14.21 and 11.14) had adequate knowledge of nutrition and practiced eating of good foods regularly. The result also indicated that there was no significant difference in the knowledge and nutritional practices of the women between age group 15-21 years and 36 years and above, when both were compared with other age groups. These results thus, revealed the age group that needed more attention. The expectant mothers of age 15-21 definitely would not have geed education which affected their income and value for good food. Those of ages 36 and above that were still having children might have good education but ignored what they already know about good nutrition due to the fact that were busy looking for money or that they must have had other successful pregnancies that their concerns about the success of the present one was reduced. Whatever their reasons may be it is important to note that the expectant mothers of these age groups needs more nutritional knowledge and better nutritional practices than other groups who proved to have had more knowledge and adequate nutritional practices than this group.

Keity et al (1994) & Berendes and Forman (1991) observed that mothers younger than 20 and older than 34 were at greatest risk of having low birth weight infants. According to them, the risk factors are higher when such expectant mothers have low income, status; use drugs are underweight or overweight. From the results of the study, the subjects within these age range need serious nutritional enlightenment in order to prevent future occurrence of such defeats.

For parity, the result in table 9 showed that the number of children or pregnancies of the expectant mothers of study had significantly influenced their knowledge and practices of nutrition.

The result above was expected because parity status of a woman through experience is associated with her level of education which affected her income and her attitude to good nutrition. The low level of knowledge and practices observed among the mothers with no parity was not a surprise since this group of women might not be experienced enough about the importance of good nutrition on the outcome of Pregnancies. For these subjects that have seven children and above, the low mean observed might be because of the fact that Women of such parity may have married early and was not opportune to go to school. As such they have low economic status.

The implication of this is that expectant mothers that are having babies for the first time should be given adequate nutritional counseling because they lack the knowledge. Also those that have had several pregnancies like seven and above babies should be given good nutritional counseling because several studies by7 White Head (1994), Kiely (1994), Zhn (1999) & Wakefield (2000) revealed that women with such parity levels are at greater risks than those in other parity levels.

Relationship between Knowledge and Practice of Nutrition among the Expectant Mothers.

The result on table 18 showed that there was significant difference in the relationship between knowledge and practices of nutrition among the expectant mother in relation for their Education. The strength of relation between these with primary education was very high r = .817, r = .605 for those with secondary education and r = .776 for those with tertiary education.

The result shows that the level of knowledge of these expectant, result as mothers as per their education, relates highly to their knowledge and practice of nutrition (table 18) also, that the level of qualification was he knowledge of nutrition and the level of practice of goods nutrition was high related and significantly or highly observed amo0ng those with primary education practiced. In other words the way the subjects with only primary education practiced nutrition depend to great extent on the level of their knowledge of what constitutes good nutrition. This is not a surprise because knowledge is power and it is not possible to practice what one is not aware of since their knowledge is related to their practice of nutrition and highly observed, urgent effort should be made to improve knowledge of this class of expectant mothers. The researcher of the view that imparting a very sound knowledge of what constitutes a good nutrition to primary school pupils will help increase good nutritional practices among the mothers of tomorrow who may not be opportune to further their education. However, every parent should ensure that their girls receive good education before marriage.

Table 18 also revealed that the level of knowledge of nutrition related to the level of practice of nutrition among those with secondary education. But it was not highly observable as it was among those with primary education (r = .605 – some correlation). This is to say that, their level of knowledge of nutrition did not really denote the way they ate good food. This result shows that these class of women got some exposure and knowledge elsewhere either from those that are more learned or read more about good nutrition on their own. Thus, their practice of adequate nutrition improved. Their higher level of education increased their ability to benefit from nutrition information elsewhere. The implication is that more seminars and expositions about good nutritional practices should be given to this group who can learn faster. Their economic status should also be improved because this group needs motivation.

For those with tertiary education, the result revealed that their regular practice of good nutrition was also related to their high knowledge of what constitutes good nutrition to the extent that was observed. What more can we expect, they have come, seen and concord. The positive habits observed among these expectant mothers could be due to both their level of education, experiences and exposures given to them by their economic status. Greater effort should be made to motivate, sustain and encourage their good habits on nutrition. Gallis (1978) asserts that knowledge alone did not change behaviour but required many factors to motivate, an individual to change his/her behaviour. Therefore, nutritional education as well as other motivational steps like gifts, increment in salaries, availability of the required foods at more affordable prices would help in improving the nutritional practices of all the subjects of study.

Concerning ages, Table 19 showed that some correlation existed between the knowledge and practices of the subjects of study who were ages 15-21 years, and there was significant difference in such relationship. The result also showed that very high correlation existed between knowledge and nutritional practices of those subjects that were 22-28; 29-35 and 36 years and above. The significant different in the relationship between their knowledge and practice of nutrition was high in each of three groups. This result showed that the nutritional practices of the subjects of the study who were 15-21 years were influenced moderately by their level of knowledge. In order words, their knowledge which was high (refer to table 19) did not reflect greatly on their nutritional practices. The researcher is of the view that their level of practices. The resear5cher is of the view that their level of practice was affected early will be engulfed in high domestic responsibilities there by paying less attention to their nutritional heath. Even though the nutritional knowledge was there, those women may not have had the opportunity for higher education which will equips them with a better attitude to health as well as increase their financial status. Previous studies by Isaacs and Financioghu (1987) and Robert (1996) observed that, the income of a woman is correlated to her attitudes and practices of adequate nutrition. Kitts and Roberts (1996) agreed also that education increased women ability to benefit from health information.

For the other age groups, the result observed was also expected since age is a strong factor to health behavioral pattern. Age is also associated with level of maturity. The implication of this is that nutritio0nal support and counseling should be sort and urgently given to the expectant mothers within ages 15 and 21 years. Also having babies within such ages should be discouraged.

Concerning parity, Table 20 revealed that high correlation existed between the knowledge and practices of nutrition among the expected mothers that are having baby for the first time, those with 1 to 3 children and those with 4 to 6 children. Also, there was significant difference in the relationship between knowledge and practice of nutrition in each of the parity groups. A close look at table 20 showed the level of nutritional knowledge of each parity groups, in other words, the way each parity group practiced regular eating of good nutrition depended greatly on their level of knowledge. This result was contrary to what was observed from those expectant mothers that have seen children and above (table20). These groups of mothers have no correlation between their knowledge and practice of good nutrition. Also there was no significant difference in the relationship between their knowledge and practices of good nutrition. In other words, the lower means (x = 61.22%) observed in their knowledge of nutrition was not observed or noticed. They must have tried to improve on their eating habits because of their experiences in previous pregnancies. Those expectant mothers whose parity levels were zero must have lacked the knowledge and Experience to prompt adequate nutritional practice.

These results were expected since they agreed with the observation made by Isaacs and Financioghu (1987) and Kitts and Robert (1996) that parity status of Women is associated with the level of education of the woman’s level of education is closely related to her income, and the income of a woman is correlated to her attitude and practices to health and nutrition.

The implication of these results is that since knowledge of nutrition related to a great extent to their practices considering their level of education, age and parity, more efforts should be made to improve knowledge of what constitutes a good nutrition. The proportion of the subjects who possessed the knowledge from those who practice regular eating of good food is a strong indication to intensify nutrition education. Those who pract6ice it should also be motivated in order to encourage them to continue. In agreement, Galli (1998) observed that individual is inconsistent in their health behaviour. Client and Glenn (1994) advised that individual health behaviours (nutrition inclusive) can be improved with motivation.


5.2 Conclusions

Based on the research findings of the study and with reference to the statistical analysis used for the study, the following conclusions were drawn:

  1. Knowledge does not definitely imply practice. Some mothers possessed knowledge of their nutritional needs and the sources of food items yet, did not include them in their diet always. (Tables 1&2).
  2. Generally, educational qualification, age and parity significantly influenced the expectant mothers’ knowledge and practices of nutrition. (Table 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,)
  3. The Knowledge and practices of nutrition between those that attended only secondary and those with tertiary education was not significantly different.
  4. The knowledge and practices of nutrition between the expectant mothers that were ages 15-21 and 34 years and above were not significantly different.
  5. The Knowledge and practices of nutrition were significantly different among parity groups of the study.
  6. There was significant difference in the relationship between the nutritional knowledge and practices of the expectant mothers of study based on their educational qualification. Table 12.
  7. There was significant difference in the relationship between the nutritional knowledge and practices of the expectant mothers of study based on the various age groups. Table 13.
  8. There was significant difference in the nutritional knowledge and practices of the expectant mothers based on theri9 various parity groups (no parity, 1-3, 4-6).

5.3 Recommendations

The following recommendations are made based on the findings and conclusions of the researcher.

  1. The system of health talk on nutrition in all hospitals (both mission and private) in Mayo-Dassa Jalingo, Taraba State should be revised. It should cover deeply the actual nutritional needs as it relocates to pregnancy outcome bearing in mind and emphasizing that every expectant mother has a very significant role to play in making sure that her pregnancy is successful and that she remains healthy after birth. Health educators and nutritionists should be invited to give health talks to pregnant women. The job should not be left alone for the nurses.
  2. The educators should put into consideration those nutritional food substances which were poorly taken by the expectant mothers. The methods of preparing some local foods that are nutritionally rich and readily available should be explained. They should be taught how to prepare a good food menu, which will include nutritious foodstuffs that they hardly take notice of or the ones they ignore because of superstition. Food substances that supply B vitamin and folic acids should not substitute for their intakes.
  3. Nutrition education seminars or talks and exhibitions could be organized by women leaders in Mayo-Dassa Jalingo that will involve all women of child bearing age. The teaching should be a continuous project done at least four to five times yearly.
  4. During nutrition education, promotion and enlightenment programmes should be well designed and organized in such a way that it considers the educational levels of the women, age groups, parity levels. That is specifying which group of women that should come on a particular day, so that the women will operate at the same level during the nutritional class. This will also enable the teacher to be detailed and particular to his/her topic.
  5. Companies manufacturing good food products should send their company nutritionists to talk to expectant mothers and make donations and gifts during antenatal at various hospitals The churches and social groups shou7ld do likewise. This will help to raise the nutritional standard of the lower classes.
  6. The expectant mothers should be taught the effects of eating fatty foods regularly and how reduce fats in their diets. They should be encouraged to eat healthier fats by making them available and affordable and affordable in the markets.
  7. The women should be advised to avoid having babies within the age of 15-21 and 36 and above. But if it becomes unavoidable, they should seek proper care, nutritional support and counseling.
  8. There should be good education for every girl child. Minimum of secondary education is recommended for girls before they are allowed to marry or bear children.

5.4 Implication of the Study

The findings of the study have implication for the teaching and learning of nutrition education. The study revealed that the number of the expectant mothers that were knowledgeable of good food substances were more than those who ate them regularly. The result also exposed the areas of poor nutritional practices like poor eating of foods with Vitamins B, C, D, Folic acid, eating of fatty foods, and preparation of adequate food menu and taking of fluids. This condition calls for nutritional education and enlightenment programmes that will expose some of the consequences of not practicing good nutritional habit especially on the areas exposed by the study.

Knowledge and practicing good nutrition were also low among the expectant mothers with only primary education. Knowledge is necessary so that informed mothers will be aware of questions to ask, not only to promote their well being but also when to consult an expert. The implication of this is that women should acquire good education and exposure before marriage or before child birth. General knowledge is necessary in communication between a pregnant woman and her doctor or nutritionist. It enables her also to value her health.

Good education, at least to secondary school level is very necessary for every girl child considering its reproductive roles and the overall duty of caring for the family members. The result also revealed the age group that needed more attention (15 – 21 years and 36 years and above). Thus subjects of study within this age group need serious nutritional enlightenment. To avoid birth defeats.

Also those expectant mothers that are having baby for the first time and those with 7 children and above indicated low means (x) in their level of Knowledge and practices of good nutrition. The implication being that these groups of expectant mothers should be given proper nutritional counseling because they lack adequate knowledge.


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Frequently Asked Questions


Why is it important to study nutrition during pregnancy?

The knowledge of nutrition enables pregnant women to be aware of the type of nutrition to be taken, helps pregnant women to identity and eat those foods that assist their unborn babies to be healthy (Uzor, 2006).

Do antenatal care clinicians influence dietary intake of pregnant women?

Dietary intake of pregnant women do not appear to meet the dietary recommendations. Nutrition knowledge and practices of pregnant women and their antenatal care clinicians are factors that may be influential on dietary intakes of pregnant women.

Why do pregnant women practice Nutrition in India?

For instance, in India and any other developed countries of the world, pregnant women compulsorily develop the habit of practicing nutrition due to the kind of environment they are in. For instance, pregnant mothers in the developed world, are more exposed to better nutrition than those in the developing world (Lewis, 2001).

What challenges do pregnant women face in adhering to dietary recommendations?

Pregnancy nutrition knowledge and experiences of pregnant women and antenatal care clinicians: A mixed methods approach A key challenge for women adhering to dietary recommendations was having inadequate knowledge of the dietary recommendations and receiving limited information from their care providers. 

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