Maternal Perceived Stress and Discontinuation of Exclusive Breastfeeding in Primipara Women

Monday, 7 July 2008
Farideh Bastani , Maternal and Neonatal Health, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Leili Rahmatnejad, MS , Midwifery, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

Learning Objective 1: To describe how to measure maternal perceived stress and explain the relationship between maternal perceived stress and disconuation of exclusive breast feeding in primipara women.

Learning Objective 2: To explain the relationship between maternal perceived stress and socio-demographic variables in primipara women.

Introduction: Breastfeeding is health-promoting, and disease-preventing activity new mothers can perform. However, the postpartum period is a transitional and potentially stressful time during which a woman must face both the new tasks of her maternal role and changes in her body. Many new mothers discontinue breastfeeding prematurely due to difficulties and stress encountered rather than maternal choice. The purposes of the study were to investigate maternal perceived stress in primipara women and to determine its relationship to discontinuation of exclusive breastfeeding.

Methods: A descriptive correlation design was used in this study. The primipara women (n=331) who were admitted in postpartum unit and met inclusion criteria were recruited from a large educational maternity hospital in Tehran. The instrument for data collection was a structured questionnaire including socio-demographic variables and Perceived Stress items.

Results: The t-test showed that there was a significant difference between the mean of perceived stress scores of the subjects in the group of exclusive breast feeding and the women in group of discontinuation of exclusive breast feeding. In addition, no relationship was found between perceived stress and maternal socio-demographic variables, but the economic status of the subjects.


According the study findings, enhancing strategies into reducing stressors in primipara women with low income is necessary. Health professionals must advocate for healthy public policy through legislative changes, economic measures and changes to organizational beliefs and practices to improve the quality of care that health professionals deliver for breast fed mothers.