Understanding Pregnant Maasai Women’s Nutrition Patterns and Beliefs Regarding Pregnancy Outcomes
Lennox, Jessica L.M 1988-
The purpose of this study is to enhance the understanding of Maasai women’s traditions in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA). This study focuses on practices surrounding nutrition during pregnancy as well as the women’s beliefs in respect to how nutrition affects pregnancy outcomes. The intent of this research is to inform future programming for the Mama Kwanza Clinics by exploring the dynamics of pregnancy among Maasai women. This qualitative study uses an interpretive description methodology, using individual interviews and dietary recalls, with a content analysis. One on one interviews with pregnant Maasai women living in the NCAA are the primary data collection method. A second method of data collection includes a diet recall journal where each participant recorded what she had eaten in the 24 hours prior to the interview. Shared insights revealed five themes that reflect Maasai women’s perception respecting nutrition and healthcare during pregnancy, current dietary patterns, rationale for dietary restrictions, and barriers to seeking professional healthcare. These five themes include: a) Eating less food lets baby come easier; b) Not producing food means more dependence; c) Working hard harms my baby; d) Knowing what is needed for a good pregnancy; e) Preferring our traditional ways for pregnancy and birth. At a local level, these findings suggest that, by incorporating education and home visits, community clinics can decrease barriers for Maasai women seeking professional health care during the prenatal care experience. Inclusion of traditional birth attendants and family members in prenatal care decisions can support cultural safety, thereby encouraging Maasai women to attend prenatal visits without challenging their beliefs and traditional practices. Earlier prenatal care visits can also increase prevalence and duration of prenatal supplementation, while potentially decreasing micronutrient deficiencies and birth complications. At a policy level, these findings may inform the need for evaluation of current agriculture and livestock policies, as well as food fortification and supplementation programs.
DegreeMaster of Nursing (M.N.)
CommitteeDietrich-Leurer, Marie; Bassendowski, Sandra; Penz, Kelly; Holtslander, Lorraine
Copyright DateJuly 2016