Age, reproductive history, seasonality, and maternal body composition during pregnancy for nomadic Turkana of Kenya

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23 Scopus citations


To evaluate the potential differences in maternal nutritional investment in pregnancy, data collected from nomadic Ngisonyoka Turkana women during a July 1993-July 1994 field season were utilized. The roles maternal age, parity, duration of the previous nonpregnant interval, overlap between pregnancy and lactation on trimester changes in weight and summed skinfolds during pregnancy were examined. Because seasonality is an important aspect of the Turkana environment, the effects of seasonality were also assessed. First trimester weight gain is positively associated with overlap in pregnancy and lactation. Second trimester maternal weight gain is negatively influenced by higher parity and by overlap between lactation and early pregnancy. Third trimester weight gain is influenced only by seasonally induced morbidity. First trimester changes in maternal skinfolds are negatively influenced by older maternal age and parity, and positively influenced by a longer nonpregnant interval, and overlap between pregnancy and lactation. Second and third trimester skinfolds are significantly associated only with overlap between lactation and pregnancy (negatively in the second, positively in the third). Seasonality does not influence maternal skinfolds. Differences in age- and parity-related patterns of maternal nutritional investment in pregnancy are not supported by the data. The possibility that Turkana cultural beliefs may influence nutritional status during pregnancy is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)658-672
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology
  • Genetics


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