Assessment of pica and associated factors among pregnant women attending antenatal clinic at Chelstone level on hospital and Mtendere clinic, Lusaka district, Zambia.

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Ngoma, Thelma
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The University of Zambia
Pica prevalence rate among pregnant women is estimated to be about 52% to 86% in African countries. In Zambia, there is paucity of evidence on the prevalence of pica in the country despite the evidence in literature of harmful health outcomes for both mother and child. The aim of this study, was to establish the prevalence of pica and associated factors among pregnant women at Chelstone Level-one Hospital and Mtendere clinic, in Lusaka District in Zambia. The study was cross-sectional and utilized mixed methods in data collection and analysis. The study population included pregnant women aged 15 - 49 years. Data was collected using structured questionnaire which had sections for demographic and socio-economic characteristics and anthropometry. Mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) was measured using a non-stretchable adult MUAC tape for pregnant and lactating women and the haemoglobin concentration was measured using the Abx-micros automated machine. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 23.0 was used to analyse data. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the study population. A chi-square test was conducted to establish the association between pica and various categorical variables including the haemoglobin levels and the women’s nutritional status. Logistic regression was conducted to establish factors that are independently associated with pica. A total of 372 pregnant women were interviewed in this study. Majority of the participants 48.7% (n=181) were between the ages of 26-35 years. Prevalence of pica in the present study was 38.2% (n=142). Soil [84.6% (n=120)} was the most consumed and favoured followed by ice {11.9% (n=17)}, charcoal {3.5% (n=5)} was the least consumed. Majority of participants indulged in their pica practice due to cravings {62% (n=88)}, sensory reasons such as the pleasant texture, taste, or smell {16.9% (n=27)}, for controlling nausea and vomiting {15.5% (n=22)} and others. There was no significant association between nutrition status, hemoglobin level and pica practice. However, logistic regression showed a statistically significant association between history of pica and pica practice (OR=0.169; 95%CI: 0.100-0.286; p=0.00). The study accentuates the need for health education and counselling on pica among pregnant women. Key words: Pica, Pregnant women, Nutrition status, Heamoglobin
Pregnant women--Nutrition status. , Pregnant women--Weight gain.