Feeding practices, nutrition status and birth outcomes of adolescent mothers in Iganga District
Kyebajja, Esther Gorret
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Adolescent pregnancies and motherhood are major health and social concerns worldwide. They are associated with high morbidity and mortality for mother and child. The aim of this study was to assess the feeding practices, nutrition status and birth outcomes, as well as the factors associated with nutrition status and birth outcomes of adolescent mothers with children aged 6- 23 months in Iganga district, Uganda. A cross section study was conducted among 150 adolescent mothers (15-19years) having children aged between 6-23 months in Iganga district. A questionnaire was used to collect information on demographic characteristics, feeding practices, nutrition status, birth outcomes and associated factors .Most adolescent mothers had only two meals: lunch (94%) and supper (85.3%) and all mothers consumed starchy foods on a daily basis. Majority of the them (59.3%) had a dietary diversity score of less than 5 food groups. Most of the adolescent mothers (88.7%) were of normal stature (height >145cm) and normal weight (65.3%). Of the underweight mothers, 27% had visible wasting. Most About 40% of the adolescent mothers delivered by caesarian section had low birth weight babies, majority experienced postpartum hemorrhage. About 36% of the mothers had infections (36%). Among the factors associated with nutrition status included low level of education (p = 0.016), lack of an income generating activity (p = 0.032), low dietary diversity (p = 0.03) and meal skipping (p = 0.02, p = 0.046, p = 0.025 for breakfast, lunch and supper, respectively) while maternal age (p= 0.002) and maternal nutrition status (p = 0.001) had an association with birth outcomes. Adolescent mothers in Iganga did not meet the maternal feeding practices recommended by WHO. They consumed diets that were inadequate in both macro and micro nutrients, feeding only two to three times, with a high incidence of meal skipping. Although most adolescent mothers in Iganga had optimal nutrition status, a big proportion of them were also underweight. This, coupled with their young age, may contribute to the observed poor birth outcomes such as low birth weight babies, caesarean sections and postpartum hemorrhages.