From research in central Chhattisgarh, this paper interprets the bearing that healthcare beliefs and practices may have in shaping maternal and child nutrition both in the light of biomedical recommendations and within the context and constraints of a rural village setting. It contends that health beliefs and practices that are at variance from biomedical recommendations appear to have few consequences for gestational nutrition and for child health in relation to pregnancy. In the postpartum however, health ideas at variance from biomedical recommendations appear to have an important bearing on maternal nutrition and infant feeding, and may put mothers and children at risk of nutritional deficiency. Maternal ‘eating down’ following a surgical procedure such as a caesarean delivery or tubectomy is especially noteworthy, since food intake quantity is reduced over an extended time frame. While caring practices are influenced by cultural formulations, they also reflect, perhaps, adaptations to health risks.
- infant feeding
- health beliefs