Maternal psychosocial well-being in pregnancy and breastfeeding duration
Article first published online: 30 JAN 2008
©2007 The Author(s)
Volume 97, Issue 2, pages 221–225, February 2008
How to Cite
Li, J., Kendall, G., Henderson, S., Downie, J., Landsborough, L. and Oddy, W. (2008), Maternal psychosocial well-being in pregnancy and breastfeeding duration. Acta Paediatrica, 97: 221–225. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2007.00602.x
- Issue published online: 30 JAN 2008
- Article first published online: 30 JAN 2008
- Received 27 July 2007; revised 17 October 2007; accepted 23 October 2007.
- Breastfeeding duration;
- Postnatal emotional disturbances;
- Social contact and support;
- Socio-demographic factors;
- Stressful life events in pregnancy
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.