Is nutritional priority given to pregnant women? : a case study of intra-household food allocation among the rural poor in the Inchanga area, South Africa.
Scott, Sarah Lynn.
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The premise of this case study research is that nutritional requirements increase when women fall pregnant and that obtaining adequate nutrition is of particular importance for the maternal environment and fetal growth on both short-term and long-term outcomes, impacting everything from individual well-being to Gross Domestic Product of a nation. Nutrition is a complex and multi-faceted area of study. An important part of this study is the nature of intra-household allocation. This study explores the allocation of food and resources within a sample of rural households to identify whether the onset of pregnancy changes a woman’s ability to claim (receive) additional food and resources to meet her increased nutritional needs. Using case study methodology, I collected a combination of quantitative and qualitative data on individual and household level information of 32 pregnant women in the area of Inchanga, South Africa. Almost all pregnant women in this sample report that their absolute needs are met. I also find that a majority of respondents report a relative increase in food, money and/or resources during pregnancy. This indicates that for the greater part of households in this sample, women’s access to nutrition does change because they are pregnant. Where a pregnant woman’s nutritional needs were not met, important individual and household correlates include the pregnant woman’s relationship to the head of household, to other household members as well as to the father of the child, in addition to the woman’s individual access to and control over income.