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Cultural and traditional food practices in pregnancy and breastfeeding 

Cultural and traditional food practices in pregnancy and breastfeeding
Chapter:
Cultural and traditional food practices in pregnancy and breastfeeding
Author(s):

Sir Peter Gluckman

, Mark Hanson

, Chong Yap Seng

, and Anne Bardsley

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198722700.003.0031
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date: 14 November 2019

Cultural beliefs and practices can markedly influence a woman’s pregnancy and childbirth experiences, and may shape her mothering behaviour. In addition, dietary intake before and during pregnancy and through lactation is often influenced by cultural beliefs and practices. As some traditional health care beliefs and food practices favoured in different cultures appear to result from efforts to address specific environmental challenges, it is important to recognize and respect these beliefs while guiding women towards optimum nutrition and away from harmful practices or prohibitions. This chapter discusses the implications of some common food practices, as well as cultural practices that are specific to pregnancy and lactation, on maternal and infant health.

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