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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 132-137

Pregnancy-related health behavior of Saudi women and key information sources: A clinic-based study

1 Center for Computational Epidemiology and Response Plan, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA
2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Maternal Fetal Medicine, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Suhasini Ramisetty-Mikler
Center for Computational Epidemiology and Response Plan, University of North Texas Discovery Park, 3940 N Elm St, Denton, Texas 76207
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sjhs.sjhs_15_18

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Background: Topics concerning preconception, prenatal health, and prenatal care-seeking behavior among Arab women have not been sufficiently addressed. This study focuses on these behaviors in Saudi pregnant women as they relate to birth outcomes. Aims: The aim of the study was to characterize preconception and prenatal health behavior concerning nutrition and physical activity and to identify health information sources that may impact their health literacy. Methods: A sample of 258 pregnant Saudi women recruited from two major hospital clinics in Riyadh were interviewed. Factors affecting folic acid (FA) awareness and consumption were examined individually using logistic regression to generate crude odds ratio (OR) and adjusted OR (AOR). Results: An overwhelming majority (>90%) is aware of significance of FA, however, less than half took supplements preconceptionally or consumed foods rich in FA. Younger (<30 years) women (AOR = 0.43; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.19, 0.98; P < 0.05) and women with lower education level (AOR = 0.36; 95% CI = 0.15, 0.89; P < 0.05) are less likely to have heard or known about the role of FA in preventing birth defects (AOR = 0.45; 95% CI = 0.23, 0.88; P < 0.05) and less likely to have knowledge of foods rich in FA (AOR = 0.57; 95% CI = 0.32, 1.0; P < 0.05) compared to college-educated women. Conclusion: The results suggest that awareness of folate importance is high, however, the consumption or supplementation of folate is low. The study findings highlight the need for routine preventative health care and educational opportunities for couples. In particular, younger women and women with lower educational level should be targeted for interventions.

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