CitationBirhanu, Zewdie; Chapleau, Gina M.; Ortolano, Stephanie E.; Mamo, Girma; Martin, Stephanie L.; & Dickin, Katherine L. (2018). Ethiopian Women's Perspectives on Antenatal Care and Iron-Folic Acid Supplementation: Insights for Translating Global Antenatal Calcium Guidelines into Practice. Maternal & Child Nutrition, 14(Suppl. 1), e12424.
AbstractAfter decades of global response to iron-deficiency anemia, lessons learned from antenatal iron-folic acid (IFA) supplementation can inform new micronutrient supplementation efforts. The World Health Organization recommends calcium supplementation for the prevention of preeclampsia; however, little is documented on how to design programs to integrate calcium into the standard of care. Twenty interviews with pregnant women and 22 interviews with health providers and volunteers in two districts in Ethiopia were conducted to examine how barriers and facilitators to antenatal care, IFA supplementation, and initial reactions to calcium supplements and regimen might influence adherence and inform future programs. Women viewed supplementation positively but cited lack of information on benefits and risks, forgetfulness, and inconsistent IFA supply as challenges. Though knowledge and awareness of anemia and IFA supplements were widespread, preeclampsia was mostly unknown. Some symptoms of preeclampsia were viewed as normal in pregnancy, making it difficult to convey risk to motivate supplement use. Some women viewed co-consumption of IFA and calcium as potentially harmful and were confused regarding the simultaneous risks of anemia and hypertension, understood as "low" and "high" blood levels in pregnancy. However, most said they would take both IFA and calcium supplements if provided with supplements and counseling on purpose and benefits. Strategies such as social support from families, stronger community-based counseling, and increased health care provider and community awareness of preeclampsia are critical for women to understand the benefits of supplementation and resolve confusion caused by current descriptors used for anemia and hypertension.
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitleMaternal & Child Nutrition
Chapleau, Gina M.
Ortolano, Stephanie E.
Martin, Stephanie L.
Dickin, Katherine L.