Breastfeeding in the context of domestic violence-a cross-sectional study

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Aims: To determine the differences in breastfeeding among women who did and did not experience domestic violence during pregnancy and postpartum in a Swedish context. In addition, to identify possible differences regarding breastfeeding between groups with or without a history of violence. Further, determine the relationship between exclusive breastfeeding and symptoms of depression. Background: History of violence may increase the risk of depression and a decrease in, or cessation of, breastfeeding. Design: The study has a cross-sectional design. Methods: Data were collected prospectively from March 2012 - May 2015. A cohort of 731 mothers answered a questionnaire from a larger project (1.5 years postpartum). Results: Breastfeeding was reported by 93.7% of participants. Women exposed to domestic violence during pregnancy and/or postpartum (4.5%) were just as likely to breastfeed as women who had not reported exposure to domestic violence. There were no statistically significant differences between the groups with or without a history of violence regarding exclusive breastfeeding. Women reporting several symptoms of depression breastfed exclusively to a lesser extent compared with women who had a few symptoms of depression. Conclusion: Domestic violence did not influence breastfeeding prevalence or duration. Breastfeeding did not differ in women with or without a history of violence. Symptoms of depression influenced duration of exclusive breastfeeding. Beyond recognizing women who are exposed to violence, it is important to identify and to support pregnant women and new mothers with symptoms of depression as their health and the health of their infants depends on the mothers' mental well-being.


Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • Malmö University

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Folkhälsovetenskap, global hälsa, socialmedicin och epidemiologi


Sidor (från-till)3209-3219
TidskriftJournal of Advanced Nursing
Tidigt onlinedatum2017 jun 7
StatusPublished - 2017
Peer review utfördJa