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Health Literacy of Pregnant Women and Duration of Breastfeeding Maintenance: A Feasibility Study

Vila-Candel, R., Soriano-Vidal, F. J., Mena-Tudela, D. , Quesada, J. A. & Castro-Sanchez, E. ORCID: 0000-0002-3351-9496 (2020). Health Literacy of Pregnant Women and Duration of Breastfeeding Maintenance: A Feasibility Study. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 77(2), pp. 703-714. doi: 10.1111/jan.14625


Research the association between health literacy (HL) and exclusive breastfeeding at 4‐months postpartum.

Despite the benefits of breastfeeding (BF), its rates are low worldwide. Among the reasons for abandonment is the level of maternal education. Maternal education has been associated with HL, but evidence between HL and BF maintenance is limited.

A cross‐sectional study.

The sample compromised 229 nursing mothers recruited from January 2018 to the end of December 2018 at Spain by systematic sampling method. Women were interviewed postpartum on parameters associated with the start and continuation of BF up to 4 months postpartum. Multivariate logistic regression models to explain exposure variables and exclusive BF cessation at 4 months.

Approximately 10% of the participants had inadequate HL. Factors associated with early cessation of exclusive BF at 4 months in the multivariate model adjusted using a stepwise variable selection process based on a likelihood ratio test were civil status, risk of pregnancy, type of delivery, limited or inadequate level of HL, and LATCH score at discharge, with an 85.6% area under the ROC curve.

Our study offers preliminary evidence regarding the hitherto inconsistent relation between HL and early cessation exclusive BF at 4 months, supporting the conduct of further studies with larger sample sizes and greater statistical power. Such studies are warranted before endorsing HL‐based interventions aiming to mitigate early cessation exclusive BF.

Low or inadequate HL is linked to multiple poor health and clinical outcomes. We investigated the prevalence of exclusive BF at 4 months postpartum, and the impact of HL in maintaining optimal exclusive BF practices. Limited or inadequate HL was one of the factors associated with early cessation of exclusive BF in the multivariate regression model, although further research is needed.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Vila‐Candel, R, Soriano‐Vidal, FJ, Mena‐Tudela, D, Quesada, JA, Castro‐Sánchez, E. Health literacy of pregnant women and duration of breastfeeding maintenance: A feasibility study. J Adv Nurs. 2020; 00: 1– 12, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
Publisher Keywords: breastfeeding; breastfeeding abandonment; breastfeeding duration; early cessation; exclusive breastfeeding; health literacy; nursing; women
Subjects: R Medicine > RT Nursing
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Nursing
SWORD Depositor:
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