Maternal psychosocial well-being in pregnancy and breastfeeding duration
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Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Aim: An incrased duration of breastfeeding has many advantages for the child and mother. However little research to date has investigated the influence of maternal psychosocial well-being during pregnancy on the duration of breastfeeding. This study aimed to examine whether experience of life stress events, social contacts/support in pregnancy and postpartum emotional disturbance had an effect on breastfeeding duration. Methods: Using data from the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort Study for 2420 women follwed from 18 weeks gestation we analysed prevalent breastfeeding for 4 months or longer and its association with maternal pyschosocial and socio-demographic factors in pregnancy, using multivariable logistic regressions. Results: Experience of stressful life events during pregnancy increased the odds for the early cessation of prevalent breastfeeding (OR 1.34, p < 0.05, 95% Cl 1.04-1.71) independent of maternal socio-demographic characteristics and biomedical factors. Stress events associated with separation or divorce, financial problems and residential moves in pregnancy were important predictors for a shorter duration of prevalent breastfeeding. Conclusion: Experience of stressful life events during pregnancy increased the odds for the early cessaton of prevalent breastfeeding. Interventions that move beyond hospital-based antenatal care to address the causes of maternal stress in pregancy and socioeconomic disparities between women are required to increase breastfeeding duration.
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