Factors Associated With Undernutrition Among Pregnant and Lactating Syrian Refugee Women in Jordan

  •  Heyam Dalky    
  •  Abeer Qandil    
  •  Amani Alqawasmi    


BACKGROUND: Maternal undernutrition is a public health issue and is reported to cause life-long and irreversible damage, with consequences at the individual, community, and national level. Many factors are reported to impact nutritional status for refugee pregnant or lactating women. Recently, Jordan has accepted an influx of refugees from Syria. Maternal undernutrition in pregnant and lactating Syrian women poses significant health risks.

OBJECTIVE: To identify the relationship of undernutrition to underlying causes of socio-demographic, health and obstetric care, psychological wellbeing, social support, and marital violence among pregnant and lactating Syrian women attending obstetric outpatient clinics in Jordan.

METHODS: The study was a cross-sectional assessment of 423 pregnant and lactating Syrian refugee women of established households within Jordan. Self-report questionnaires and anthropometric measurements were primary data sources.

RESULTS: 49.2% (n=208) of participants were categorized as undernutrition (undernourished), a problem that is more prevailing among pregnant than lactating women. Statistical significance association was found for the variables extended family type, availability of health services, regular exercise, the trimester of pregnancy, low birth weight of the baby, and psychological well-being, when examined against undernutrition status.

CONCLUSION: Undernutrition is a significant health issue among women of reproductive age. This study is a building block for further research, yet it provides basic information on the effect of undernourishment on pregnant and lactating Syrian refugee women.

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