• beliefs;
  • maternal nutrition;
  • pregnancy and nutrition;
  • dietary habits;
  • food intake;
  • rural Burkina Faso


The aim of this study was to assess potential changes in dietary habits during pregnancy in a rural community in Houndé district, Burkina Faso. In-depth interviews were performed on a random sample of 37 pregnant women in order to analyse specific perceptions and attitudes regarding food consumption during pregnancy. In addition to this, an interactive 24-h recall survey was used to compare the food intake of 218 pregnant and 176 non-pregnant women. The majority of interviewees reported dietary restrictions during pregnancy but no consistent pattern of avoided food types was found. Most of the mentioned ‘forbidden’ foods were in related to physical discomfort during gestation. Interviewees also admitted to ignoring culturally determined food prohibitions/prescriptions. No differences were observed in food intake, food choice and nutrient intake between the group of pregnant and non-pregnant women. During the third trimester of gestation women did not show any major differences in food and nutrient intake compared with women from the first/second trimester. The mean nutrient intakes were found to be insufficient compared with the recommended daily allowances, especially for pregnant women. In conclusion, pregnant women in this rural area of Burkina Faso do not seem to restrict their diet significantly during pregnancy. The additional nutritional requirements of pregnancy are not accounted for in their dietary practises.