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Impact of an educational intervention on breastfeeding behaviour among pregnant women

02 January 2019
16 min read
Volume 27 · Issue 1

Abstract

Background

Interventions to support, promote and increase breastfeeding rates are of significant importance. Interventions based on health education and health promotion theories on breastfeeding refer to those providing real and technical information on breastfeeding for special purpose groups in the community.

Aims

To survey the application of theory of planned behaviour in breastfeeding behaviour among pregnant women in Fasa City, Iran.

Methods

A quasi-experimental research design was used with 100 women at 30–34 weeks' gestational age. The intervention consisted of seven training sessions, and behaviours were evaluated before and 40 days after postpartum. A questionnaire consisting of demographic information, knowledge and theory of planned behaviour constructs (attitude, subjective norms, perceived behavioural control and intention) was used to measure breastfeeding behaviour. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics.

Findings

Post-intervention, the experimental group showed a significant increase in the knowledge, attitude, perceived behavioural control, subjective norms, intention and breastfeeding behaviour.

Conclusions

This study showed the effectiveness of the intervention based on the theory of planned behaviour constructs in adoption of breastfeeding behaviour post-intervention in women.

The nutritional advantage of breastfeeding for the development, health, and survival of infants and young children has been well recognised around the world and accepted as an important public health issue in past decades (Gertosio et al, 2016). The value of breastfeeding and its role in reducing mortality rate and infants' diseases, boosting IQ, providing the best pattern of growth and development, promoting health in adulthood, and protecting the health of mothers is well known (Renfrew et al, 2012). In addition to its ability to reduce household expenses, evidence suggests that breastfeeding strengthens infant-mother attachment and bonding (Aghdas et al, 2014).

Breast milk is rich in nutrients and vitamins and promotes a baby's growth and development better than any other food (Brown et al, 2016). Breastfeeding protects infants against diseases such as respiratory tract infections, allergies, gastroenteritis, and malnutrition (Oddy et al, 2017). More than 1 million children die each year from diarrhoea, respiratory infections, and other infections associated with inadequate breastfeeding (Colchero et al, 2015). In the general population, a substantial body of scientific evidence supports the association of infant breastfeeding with a 22–24% lower subsequent risk of childhood and adolescent overweight and diabetes (Jäger et al, 2014). Compared to other infants, breastfed infants have a lower rates of respiratory tract infections, middle ear infections, diarrhoea, diabetes, allergies, asthma, and sudden infant death syndrome (Williams et al, 2016; Victora et al, 2016; Moon and Task Force on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, 2016; Bartick et al, 2017).

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