Maternal psychosocial well-being in pregnancy and breastfeeding duration

Authors

  • J Li,

    1. Centre for International Health and School of Public Health, Curtin University of Technology, GPO Box U1987, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
    2. Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health Research, The University of Western Australia, PO Box 855, West Perth, Western Australia 6872, Australia
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  • GE Kendall,

    1. School of Nursing and Midwifery, Curtin University of Technology, GPO Box U1987, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
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  • S Henderson,

    1. School of Nursing and Midwifery, Curtin University of Technology, GPO Box U1987, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
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  • J Downie,

    1. School of Nursing and Midwifery, Curtin University of Technology, GPO Box U1987, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
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  • L Landsborough,

    1. South West Health Service, Department of Health, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
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  • WH Oddy

    1. Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health Research, The University of Western Australia, PO Box 855, West Perth, Western Australia 6872, Australia
    2. School of Public Health, Curtin University of Technology, GPO Box U1987, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
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Correspondence
J. Li, Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, PO Box 855, West Perth, Western Australia 6872, Australia. Tel.: +61-8-9489-7800 | Fax: +61-8-9489-7700 | Email: jianghongl@ichr.uwa.edu.au

Abstract

Aim: An increased 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 contact/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 followed from 18 weeks gestation, we analyzed prevalent breastfeeding for 4 months or longer and its association with maternal psychosocial 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% CI 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 cessation of prevalent breastfeeding. Interventions that move beyond hospital-based antenatal care to address the causes of maternal stress in pregnancy and socioeconomic disparities between women are required to increase breastfeeding duration.

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