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Indian food beliefs and health behavior affecting womens health during pregnancy: a cross-cultural review

Author Affiliations

  • 1Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, India

Int. Res. J. Social Sci., Volume 10, Issue (1), Pages 58-64, January,14 (2021)


The increasing burden of Maternal Mortality Rates and Pregnancy-Related Complications in the Indian Sub-continent (which is known for its diversity of culture) could be attributed to several major causes, particularly the socio-cultural behavior of the community and individual per se. This ethno-psychology, which lays its impact on ethno-physiology, in terms of dietary behavior as well as health behavior is the core indulgence of this paper. This paper aims to draw some of the major Indian food beliefs and practices during pregnancy which has direct association with health of expecting mother and the fetus. For this rationale, an adequate number of literatures and databases, in Indian and global contexts were reviewed and analyzed thematically to validate the conceptualization of this paper. The paper summarizes the evidences from major datasets showing the problem and factors from well-renowned literatures such as Ayurveda stating hot-cold theory, eating-down strategy, pica foods etc as some the major beliefs. These variables vary geographically and have evolved over course of time. In addition to it, the health service behavior is seen to have inverse relationship with the indigenous belief systems.


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