Nigerian Journal of Nutritional Sciences

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Dietary pattern, haemoglobin and haematocrit status of pregnant women in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State, Nigeria

N.M. Nnam, R.N.B. Ayogu, C.R. Onyeabor


Background: Pregnancy is a normal physiologic process that increases a woman's vulnerability to nutritional problems particularly anaemia. This study examined the dietary pattern, haemoglobin and haematocrit status of pregnant women in Ogbaru Local Government Area (LGA) of Anambra State, Nigeria.

Methods: Three communities (Okpoko, Atani and Ossamala) were selected out of 16 communities in the LGA using simple random sampling technique. Proportionate sampling was used to select 220 out of 733 pregnant women attending antenatal clinics in the health centres within the three communities. Data were obtained using a validated pretested questionnaire and through the biochemical analysis of blood. Descriptive and inferential statistics was employed in data analysis and results were presented in frequencies and percentages. Significance was accepted at P<0.05.

Results: The results showed that 27.7% of the subjects were in their first trimester, 40.5% were in their second trimester and 31.8% were in their third trimester. About 71% never skipped any meal, however, 12.2%, 13.2% and 3.2% skipped breakfast, lunch and supper, respectively. Abou a third (34.1%) of the respondents consumed cereals, 40.5% consumed starchy roots/tubers, 40% consumed fruits/vegetables, 45.5% consumed fish/meat, and 45.5% consumed oil/oil seeds and nuts while only 27.3% consumed legumes. Those that consumed non food substances constituted 25% of which 94.6% took clay and 80% took sand. Majority (93%) of the women had normal packed cell volume of 33% and above; up to 79.7% had haemoglobin of 12 – 16g/dl. Only 20.5% had low haemoglobin of less than 12g/dl. All the subjects (100%) were on iron supplements. Only 72% took the supplements regularly (as prescribed).

Conclusion: Nutrition education is imperative to ensure good food habits and better nutritional status among pregnant women.

Keywords: Food habits, haemoglobin, haematocrit, pregnant women

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