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Knowledge of newborn health care among pregnant women: basis for promotional and educational programs on breastfeeding

Knowledge of newborn health care among pregnant women: basis for promotional and educational programs on breastfeeding

Sao Paulo Medical Journal 119(1): 7-9

Promotional and educational programs relating to breast feeding are important for reversing the decline in this practice. Most programs are centered exclusively on breast feeding, although general knowledge about newborn health care may be important, especially among pregnant women. To study pregnant women's knowledge about general health care of newborns, including breast feeding aspects. Cross-sectional. Prof. Samuel Barnsley Pessoa Health School Center, Faculty of Medicine, University of São Paulo, Brazil. All pregnant women who were registered in the prenatal care program during six consecutive months. Aspects of the current gestation, previous gestations and childbirth, knowledge of the general aspects of newborn health care and of breast feeding practices. The results show that only a little over half of the pregnant women had received any information on newborn health care. Misinformation was clearly present regarding proper care of the umbilical stump and the nature of jaundice, and worst regarding how to treat oral thrush and jaundice, and about vaccination. In relation to breast feeding, even though almost all the pregnant women declared their intention to breast feeding, less than half had a concrete response regarding how long to do it for. The low rates obtained in the topics dealing with the duration, nursing intervals and the attitude to be taken towards hypogalactia show unfamiliarity with the breast feeding technique. The "weak milk" belief, the misinformation about contraceptive methods during breast feeding and the cost of artificial formulas also have a negative impact on this practice. Pregnant women's knowledge of newborn health care is low, as much in the aspects of general care as in relation to the practice of breast feeding. These findings must be taken into consideration in educative programs promoting breast feeding.

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Accession: 046508466

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PMID: 11175618

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