The incidence of low birthweight (LBW) in Bangladesh is one of the highest in the world. Inadequate rest of the mothers during pregnancy is a contributing factor to LBW. To assess the perception and practice of rest during pregnancy, 136 mothers and family members who make important decisions on family matter (FDM) were studied in rural Bangladesh. Eighty per cent of mothers perceived the importance of rest during pregnancy, whereas only 29 per cent practised rest (p<0.003). Of the mothers who lacked perception, none practised. Eighty-five per cent of FDM perceived rest as important, yet only 27 per cent practised rest. Mothers' education and socioeconomic status were significantly associated with perception (p<0.028, p<0.001) and practice (p<0.008, p<0.006) of rest. The mother's education was also significantly (p<0.000) associated with the socioeconomic status of the family. Our study suggests that the inability to take rest was due to workload at home, illiteracy, low socioeconomic status and failure of family members to share the workload.
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