Background: Anemia during pregnancy is a major public health problem globally with multiple causes including inadequate dietary intakes. The aim of the study was to assess the effect of nutrition education on nutritional knowledge, hemoglobin level and dietary intake of anemic pregnant women.
Materials and methods: A quasi-experimental study was conducted among 115 mild to moderately anemic pregnant women attending ante natal clinics. Pregnant women were consecutively enrolled and assigned to receive nutrition education and diet plan in intervention group (n = 58) and general education only in control group (n = 57). The nutrition education was given to pregnant women on individual basis at the time of enrollment and follow-ups were done through biweekly phone calls and every 4 weeks during ANC visits. Baseline data were collected using semi-structure questionnaire for interview and hemoglobin level was also measured. Data were collected after 10 weeks of nutrition education intervention. Independent sample t-test was used to compare differences between the two groups.
Results: Out of 115 pregnant women enrolled, 107 completed the study (Intervention: 53; Control: 54). At the end of the nutrition education intervention and iron rich food based diet plan, the change in hemoglobin level was significantly high in the intervention over control group [0.56±0.40gm/dl vs. 0.16±0.82gm/dl, p = 0.002]. The change in the maternal nutritional knowledge score on anemia and iron rich foods was significantly high in the intervention over control group [8.26±4.57 vs. 1.05±6.59, p<0.001].Consumption of iron rich food was significantly high in the intervention group (P<0.05).
Conclusion: Provision of nutrition education and iron rich food based diet plan was significantly associated with improved hemoglobin levels, improved dietary intake and nutritional knowledge on anemia and iron rich foods.