Local wisdom improves food diversity of pregnant women

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Illustration by Alodokter

Nutritious food is one of the most important needs of pregnant women. Therefore, pregnant women must increase the quantity and quality of their diet. Beliefs related to taboo food are still widely believed and practiced by pregnant women in Indonesia, especially in Madura, East Java. At the same time, local wisdom also develops in the community regarding foods that are recommended to improve the health of mothers and their fetuses.

This local wisdom attracted the attention of Rian Diana et al from Universitas Airlangga (UNAIR) and IPB University to conduct research on 282 pregnant women spread across 25 villages in Sumenep, Madura, East Java. A study conducted in 2017 found that pregnant women are encouraged to eat carbohydrate sources such as corn rice and white rice. Sources of protein that are widely recommended are milkfish, tuna, tilapia, tempe, and tofu. Vegetables such as moringa leaves, bean sprouts, spinach and carrots and almost all kinds of fruits are recommended to be eaten by mothers during pregnancy. Third trimester pregnant women have more food recommendations than first and second trimesters.

More than half of the pregnant women in Madura eat a variety of foods (≥5 food groups). Types of food consumed by pregnant women are cereals (rice, corn), fish, nuts (tempe, tofu), green leafy vegetables, and eggs. Having foods recommended by family, relatives or the community can improve the diversity of food consumed by pregnant women.

This finding is interesting because many studies have focused on taboo foods and not many studies have revealed recommended foods from local wisdom for pregnant women. It proves that local wisdom is one of the social capital to improve the diversity of consumption of pregnant women. Pregnant women can focus on foods recommended by their relatives with good nutritional value, not the prohibited food or taboo food. This condition shows the harmony between the socio-culture, nutrition, and health of pregnant women in Madura.

Author: Rian Diana, M.Si

Reference: Diana R, Christianti DF, Anwar F, Kusuma R, Rachmayanti RD, Khomsan A. 2020. Food suggestions, meal frequency, and dietary diversity among pregnant women: a quantitative study in Madura. Future of Food: Journal on Food, Agriculture and Society, 8 (3) October 2020. DOI:10.17170/kobra-202007201470.

Link https://www.thefutureoffoodjournal.com/index.php/FOFJ/article/view/292 

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