Barriers to postnatal care and exclusive breastfeeding among urbanwomen in southeastern Nigeria

Ugboaja, Joseph O.; Berthrand, Nwosu O.; Igwegbe, Anthony O.; OBI-Nwosu, Amaka L.
January 2013
Nigerian Medical Journal;Jan-Feb2013, Vol. 54 Issue 1, p45
Academic Journal
Background: Available evidence shows that only a small proportion of Nigerian women access postnatal care and practice exclusive breastfeeding. Given that both interventions are critical to the survival of both the mother and the new born, it is important to identify factors that militate against an effective postnatal care and exclusive breastfeeding in the country, in order to scale up services. The aim was to determine the major barriers to postnatal care and exclusive breastfeeding among urban women in southeastern Nigeria. Materials and Methods: A cross- sectional survey of 400 urban market women using semistructured questionnaires and focus group discussions. Results: Out of 400 women interviewed, 365 (91.7%) attended postnatal clinic. Lack of knowledge about postnatal care services (42.2%; n = 14), distant location of the hospitals (36.4%; n = 12) and feeling that postnatal visits was not necessary (21.1%; n = 7) were the main reasons for non-attendance to postnatal clinic. With respect to exclusive breastfeeding, 143 (35.9%) of the women practiced EBF. The main reasons for nonpractice of EBF were that EBF was very stressful (26.2%; n = 67), mother's refusal (23.5%; n = 60), and the feeling that EBF was not necessary (18.1%; n = 46). Thirty five (13.7%) of the women were constrained by time while the husband's refusal accounted for 1.5% (n = 3) of the reasons for nonpractice of exclusive breastfeeding. Conclusion: Poor knowledge and inaccessibility to health facilities were the main obstacles to postnatal care while the practice of exclusive breastfeeding was limited by the stress and mothers refusal.


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