BioScience Trends. 2010;4(4):186-189.
Pattern and determinants of breast feeding and contraceptive practices among mothers within six months postpartum.
Kunwar S, Faridi MMA, Singh S, Zahra F, Alizaidi Z
The present study aims to determine the patterns of breast feeding, return of menstruation, and contraceptive practices in the first six months postpartum in women visiting the outpatient department at a teaching hospital in Lucknow, Northern India. Mothers of infants between six to eight months of age visiting the outpatient department of Era's Lucknow Medical College were interviewed regarding breast feeding practices, return of menstruation, sexual activity, and contraceptive practices within the first six months postpartum using a structured questionnaire. Of all women interviewed only 75.8% practiced exclusive breast feeding with the mean duration of exclusive breast feeding (EBF) being 3.5 months with only 41% practicing EBF for six months, 28% were sexually active within six weeks postpartum, 64.5% women had a return of menstruation within six months. Contraception was practiced by only 54.4% women with a barrier method such as a condom, being the most common. Better education was the only factor significantly affecting EBF (p < 0.004) and use of contraception (p < 0.027). There were a total of 10 pregnancies within six months postpartum. In conclusion, optimal breast feeding practices are poor in this part of the country and lactational amenorrhoea cannot be effectively and reliably used as a method of contraception. Therefore, optimal breast feeding practices, timely introduction of contraception and institutional delivery need to be encouraged.