Research Article: Undernutrition and its associated factors among pregnant mothers in Gondar town, Northwest Ethiopia

Date Published: April 22, 2019

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Abel Fekadu Dadi, Hanna Demelash Desyibelew, Sphiwe Madiba.


Regardless of significant gains and signs of progress in the last decades, maternal undernutrition remains a major public health concern in Ethiopia. Supporting the progress of interventions being taken in the country with evidence might be important to keep the sustainability of the government effort. We aimed at determining the extent of undernutrition and its associated factors among pregnant mothers in Gondar town, Northwest Ethiopia.

A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted by including 940 selected pregnant mothers through a cluster sampling. A face-to-face interview was administered to pregnant mothers at a household level. We collected data using an Online Data collection kit (ODK) and the collected data was directly downloaded from the Google Cloud platform and finally imported to Stata 14 for further analysis. A multivariable logistic regression model was fitted to identify factors associated with undernutrition. A crude and adjusted odds ratio with their 95% confidence interval was calculated to declare the association and its significance. Model fitness was assured through the Hosmer and Lemeshow goodness of fit test and model classification accuracy.

14.4% (95%CI: 12.3–16.7) of pregnant mothers were undernourished. After adjusting for the main covariates; as the age of the pregnant mothers increases the odds of being undernourished decreases by 10% (AOR: 0.90; 95%CI: 0.87–0.95) and having a poor marital condition (AOR: 2.18; 95%CI: 1.03–4.59) increased the odds of undernutrition. The risk of undernutrition was also decreased by 43% among those pregnant mothers who consumed coffee sometimes (AOR: 0.57; 95%CI: 0.36–0.89) as compared to daily consumers.

A significant proportion of pregnant mother were undernourished. Integration of nutritional interventions with maternity health services would be highly important to improve the nutritional status of the mothers. It is also important to counsel pregnant mothers about a consequence of frequent coffee drinking during their pregnancy.

Partial Text

Globally, malnutrition is an important health concern, predominantly in under-five children and pregnant women. The World Health Organization(WHO) classifies malnutrition as the greatest threat to public health [1] and every country is facing a serious challenges from malnutrition [2, 3]. In spite of extensive global economic growth in recent decades, maternal undernutrition is highly prevalent in most countries in south-central and southeastern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa [3–6].

Maternal nutrition prior to and during pregnancy play a central role in determining the long-term health and nutritional effect of both the mother and her growing fetus [9, 21]. Maternal undernutrition is highly prevalent in low and middle-income countries [7, 9, 10] and Ethiopia as one of these countries has been significantly affected by the burden of undernutrition. We conducted a cross-sectional study to identify the burden and associated factors of undernutrition among pregnant mothers residing in an urban setting. The burden of maternal undernutrition in Gondar town was 14.4%. This finding was similar to the study conducted in the same place with the current study that reported 16.2% [8]. The insignificant discrepancy might be due to the study setup, the current study was community-based while the previous was an institution based study, as institution-based studies might overestimate the true magnitude of the problem.

Although undernutrition in pregnant mothers in this study was found to be lower as compared to other similar studies, it should be considered as a major public health problem as undernutrition in pregnancy plays a key role for enhancing maternal health and child development. Our study also identified pregnant mothers at higher risk of being malnourished: younger age, those with a poor marital condition, and those reported a frequent coffee drinking.




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