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Year : 1989  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 82-3

Diet intake patterns of non-Bengali Muslim mothers during pregnancy and lactation.

Correspondence Address:
R N Chaudhuri

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 2641755

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An explorative study was carried out to ascertain the knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding diet patterns during pregnancy and lactation among Non-Bengali Muslim mothers. 100 consecutive mothers admitted for delivery in the Obstetric Ward of Islamia Hospital, Calcutta, were selected as index cases. Retrospective data from these mothers were collected about their diet patterns during pregnancy. At least 3 home visits were made for each mother after her discharge from the hospital: the 1st visit within 7 days after discharge, the 2nd visit when the infant was 4-6 months old during the weaning period, and the 3rd visit when the infant was 8-12 months old. 60% of mothers were illiterate and 34% had up to primary level education, while only 4% and 2% of mothers had up to secondary and higher than secondary level education, respectively. None of the mothers was working. Only 13% of the families' daily diet was nonvegetarian. There was a wide gap between the mothers' attitude towards various nutritious food categories and the actual practice of consuming them because of the inability to buy those food items owing to poverty. When pregnant, they avoided leafy vegetables (96%) as well as brinjal, cauliflower, and cabbage (42%) for fear of gastric upset. 75% of mothers avoided pineapple and papaya; and 50% avoided fish since it was believed to cause scaly patches on the child's face and body. 76% of mothers, irrespective of their level of education or economic status, were consuming sago, barley, garlic, and turmeric in the erroneous belief of augmenting breast milk secretion. Garlic and turmeric were also believed to improve the baby's complexion and protect the baby and mother from cough and cold. Common food items avoided by mothers during lactation were vegetables (93%), fruits (81%), pulses (59%), and roots and tubers (54%).

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