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Public Health Nutr. 2010 Jan;13(1):82-90. doi: 10.1017/S1368980009005862. Epub 2009 May 19.

Determinants of compliance to antenatal micronutrient supplementation and women's perceptions of supplement use in rural Nepal.

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National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, India.



We examined factors affecting compliance to antenatal micronutrient supplementation and women's perceptions of supplement use.


Randomized controlled supplementation trial of four alternative combinations of micronutrients given during pregnancy through to 3 months postpartum. Women were visited twice weekly to monitor compliance and to replenish tablets by female study workers. At 6 weeks postpartum women with live births (n 4096) were interviewed regarding their perceptions of the supplement. Median compliance calculated as percentage of total eligible doses received by women was high (84 %).


Rural southern Nepal.


Pregnant women.


Women with high compliance (above the median of 84 %) were likely to be older, less educated, poorer, undernourished, belong to lower caste and of Pahadi (hill) ethnicity compared with women with low compliance (at or below the median of 84 %). Smoking and drinking alcohol in the past week during pregnancy were strongly associated with low compliance. The major reason for irregular intake was forgetting to take supplements. A higher proportion of the high compliers liked taking the supplements but only half of them were willing to purchase them in the future. A large proportion of women (91 %) perceived a benefit from taking the supplement such as improved strength and health, whereas only about 10 % perceived any side-effects which were not a major barrier to compliance.


The present analysis highlights that poor, undernourished, uneducated women can have high compliance to antenatal supplementation if they are supplied with the tablets and reminded to take them regularly, and counselled about side-effects.

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