The Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition
Vol. 36, No. 1, 2017, pp. 1-12
Bioline Code: hn17041
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge
The Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition, Vol. 36, No. 1, 2017, pp. 1-12
© Copyright 2017 - The Author(s)
“When a woman is pregnant, her grave is open”: health beliefs concerning dietary practices among pregnant Kalenjin women in rural Uasin Gishu County, Kenya|
Riang’a, Roselyter Monchari; Nangulu, Anne Kisaka & Broerse, Jacqueline E.W.
Background: Reducing malnutrition remains a major global challenge especially in low- and middle-income countries.
Lack of knowledge on the motive of nutritional behaviour could ultimately cripple nutrition intervention outcomes. The
purpose of this study was to investigate how health beliefs influence nutritional behaviour intention of the pregnant
Kalenjin women of rural Uasin Gishu County in Kenya. The study findings provide useful information for culturally
congruent nutrition counselling and intervention.
Methods: In this qualitative study semi-structured interviews were conducted with 42 pregnant and post-natal (with
children less than one year) Kalenjin women in selected rural public health facilities of Uasin Gishu County Kenya.
Furthermore, key informant interviews took place with 6 traditional birth attendants who were also pregnancy herbalists,
two community health workers and one nursing officer in charge of Maternal and Child Health (MCH) for triangulation
and provision of in-depth information. Content analysis of interview transcripts followed a grounded theory (Protection
Motivation Theory) approach, using software MAXQDA version 12.1.3.
Results: Abstracted labour (big babies and lack of maternal strength), haemorrhage (low blood), or having other diseases
and complications (evil or bad food) were the major perceived health threats that influence nutritional behaviour
intention of the pregnant Kalenjin women in rural Uasin Gishu County in Kenya.
Conclusion: The pregnancy nutritional behaviour and practices of the Kalenjin women in rural Uasin Gishu County act as
an adaptive response to the perceived health threats, which seem to be within the agency of pregnant women. As a
result, just giving antenatal nutritional counselling without addressing these key health assumptions that underlie a
successful pregnancy outcome is unlikely to lead to changes in nutritional behaviour.
Maternal nutrition; Pregnancy; Food beliefs; Health beliefs; Nutrition intervention; Child birth; Kalenjin; Uasin Gishu County; Kenya
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