Browsing by Author "Holm, Adri"
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- ItemAnthropometric status in children aged 6-36 months, born from intended and unintended pregnancies in vulnerable communities from the Western Cape Province(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2019-04) Holm, Adri; Du Plessis, Lisanne; Skinner, Donald; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Dept. of Global Health. Human Nutrition.ENGLISH SUMMARY : South Africa has a high rate of unintended pregnancies among vulnerable women. There is a growing body of evidence that shows the importance of the first 1000 days of life (namely, from conception to 2 years old). This time period in the life cycle provides a crucial window of opportunity for proper nutrition, which could improve overall health, cognitive capacity and academic performance, leading to improved health and socio-economic circumstances on an individual and national scale in South Africa. Improving the quality of women’s and girls’ pre-conception nutritional intake, as well as their intake during the period of pregnancy, could boost progressive maternal and child health and development outcomes. This cross-sectional study measured the pregnancy intention of mothers (n=72), aged 15 to 43 years old, retrospectively to analyse the impact thereof on their child’s current nutritional status in two vulnerable peri-urban communities in the Western Cape. Other determinants of health and its effects on children’s nutritional status were also investigated. From the sample population, 39% (n=28) of the pregnancies were categorised as “Unplanned”, 46% (n=33) as “Ambivalent” and only 15% (n=11) as “Planned”. Infants born from ambivalent pregnancy intention had a slightly lower birth weight than those of unplanned and planned pregnancy intention. Pregnancy intention and the current anthropometric status of the child were not associated [CI: -1.86 to 1.86]. A non-linear association was found between the ages of the sample population and their anthropometric status. Children aged 12 to 28 months were more prone to malnutrition.Women receiving their main income from the Child Support Grant had a significantly lower pregnancy intention than those women receiving their main income from either family or the child’s father (Prob > F =0.0038). No literature was previously available on whether there is a link between the high rate of unintended pregnancies in vulnerable communities in South Africa, and malnutrition in young children born from such pregnancies. This research concludes that unintended pregnancies did not contribute to malnutrition in the studied vulnerable peri-urban communities. Hence, even though many of the pregnancies were unintended, it seems as if most of the mothers found a way to care for the child. Improving nutritional quality and the emotional wellbeing of all women of childbearing potential, therefore, presents a key opportunity to improve future generations’ health and mitigate the risk of adverse long-term economic outcomes. Future mothers should be empowered to make decisions in the best interest of their children, regardless of whether the pregnancies were planned or unplanned.