The Influence of Spinal Cord Injury on Breastfeeding Ability and Behavior.


eMediNexus    02 June 2018

The goal of a new study published in the Journal of Human Lactation aimed to identify major barriers to lactation and breastfeeding related to spinal cord injury, specifically comparing high- and low-level injuries. This was a retrospective cross-sectional survey which utilized two online questionnaires, developed and completed by 52 women who chose to breastfeed despite spinal cord injury. The first questionnaire was completed by 52 women with spinal cord injury; 38 among these completed the second questionnaire. Of the 52 participants, 28 had high-level spinal cord injury (at or above T6) and 24 had low-level injury (below T6). The results showed that on the second questionnaire, 14 women with high-level injury reported insufficient milk production or ejection; whereas only 7 women with low-level injury reported the same. Meanwhile, autonomic dysreflexia was experienced by 7 women with high-level injury. Furthermore, exclusive breastfeeding duration was significantly shorter in the high-level injury group when compared to the women with low-level injury. The findings suggested that spinal cord injury (particularly at or above T6) disrupts lactation and is associated with shorter breastfeeding duration. It was also stated that autonomic dysreflexia should be addressed in prospective mothers with high-level spinal cord injury.

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