Objective: To assess the nutritional status and dietary practices among underprivileged pregnant women, identify the lacune, outline implement and assess the effect of nutritional counseling on their dietary intake, anthropometric status and anemia status.
Methods: Hundred pregnant women belonging to low socio-economic status were interviewed. Based on lacune, nutrition education (NE) was given in the form of simple messages to 50 subjects (NE-group) over 10-16 weeks period, while the remaining 50 formed the comparison group (Non-NE group). Tools used were individual counseling, weekly home visits and group meetings. Anthropometric measurements taken were height and weight. Dietary data was collected using 24-hour recall and food frequency questionnaire. Hemoglobin estimation was done. Effect of intervention was assessed by monitoring changes in dietary practices, weight gain, and nutritional status of the subjects.
Results: Baseline findings--low mean maternal body weight (51.05 +/- 7.26 kg), 96.3% anemia prevalence and severely sub-optimal dietary intakes. Post-NE results revealed a significant increase in quality and quantity of the diets consumed. Mean hemoglobin levels significantly increased (Post-NE vs Non-NE = 9.65 +/- 0.97 vs 7.85 +/- 1.58, p < 0.001) and anemia prevalence reduced (Post-NE vs Non-NE = 78.7% vs 96%) in post-NE group.
Conclusion: Individual counseling with weekly reinforcement can bring about improvement in nutritional status during pregnancy.