AWARENESS AND PERCEPTION ON EXCLUSIVE BREASTFEEDING AS A BIRTH CONTROL METHOD AMONG PREGNANT WOMEN ATTENDING ANTENATAL CLINIC IN RURAL COMMUNITIES
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Breastfeeding is the process of feeding an infant mother's milk, either through direct nipple-baby mouth contact or by expressed breast milk. Breast milk is classified into two types: colostrum, which is the initial yellowish and sticky milk produced from the mother's breasts from 37 weeks of gestation to about seven days after delivery, and mature milk, which is whitish in color and is produced effectively from about the tenth day after delivery (Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. 2014).
According to Bartick, ,& Reinhold, (2010), clinicians understand the importance of breast feeding for infant health in developing nations, but they may be unaware of the potential long-term health benefits for mothers and newborns in affluent countries, particularly in connection to obesity, blood pressure, cholesterol, and cancer. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends six months of exclusive breast feeding (breast milk exclusively, no water, other fluids, or meals), followed by two years of complementary breast feeding. This proposal has been adopted by governments in Nigeria, United Kingdom etc., but it also poses a significant issue for countries such as Nigeria and the United States, where breast feeding rates have been low for decades and can appear astonishingly resistant to change (Bartick, et al 2010).
Adequate nutrition during infancy and early childhood is critical to ensuring children's optimal growth, health, and development. Breast milk is considered the best source of nutrition for an infant, and it has been acknowledged internationally that nursing is healthy for both the mother and child. Breast milk is essential for the health and well-being of newborn infants. Breast-fed newborns grow faster, experience less sickness, and die at a lower rate than non-breast-fed infants (John, 2005). Breastfeeding is a natural technique of infant feeding that involves two primary methods: exclusive and partial, with the latter being the more popular. Nonetheless, exclusivity is the most absolute and appropriate design with the greatest domino effect. However, for the desired outcome, a good mental, emotional, and physical teamwork between the mother and her newborn is required (Narzary, 2009).
Breastfeeding promotes the involution of the uterus and, as a result, the quick recovery of uterine tone in the mother. It fosters a warm link between mother and kid. It is affordable, which is vital in the Third World, and it is convenient. Finally, because of the prolactin-raising action of nipple stimulation, nursing postpones the return of normal ovarian function and so lengthens the time between deliveries (Otoide, Oronsaye,& Okonofua, 2001).
This latter impact also benefits the infant by reducing the risk of a new pregnancy displacing the child from the breast. Weaning foods are grossly inadequate in many impoverished nations, and children who are weaned too soon are at risk of suffering different protein-calorie deficiencies, such as kwashiorkor1 and marasmus, which cause overall debilitation, stopped development, wasting, and, in some cases, death. Children who are breast-fed are more likely to survive than those who are not in areas where medical facilities are limited or non-existent (Otoide, et al 2001).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Breastfeeding is the most natural way for humans (mammals) to feed their babies, and it serves as the principal source of nutrition for the first few months of life (World Health Organisation 2018b). Furthermore, studies have shown that exclusive breastfeeding for six (6) months is the most optimal technique of newborn nutrition and should be continued even if the child eats supplemental foods after that.
Recently, there has been an intense attempt to promote "Exclusive Breastfeeding," which has increased breastfeeding knowledge significantly. Hospitals and health centers have the power to educate pregnant and nursing women about the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding as well as the steps to take to make it a reality. People frequently seek knowledge on beneficial pharmaceutical goods to help them improve their health and well-being (Wang, & Cao, 2019). Antenatal classes (both traditional and digital) is one of the most important sources of knowledge on women reproductive health education for the general public. Several studies have shown the significance of antenatal classes and most women have attested to the fact.
However, some women especially in the rural areas do not have access to these classes. Barriers such as a lack of transportation to antenatal classes and to some a lack of awareness of the importance of these classes have prevented most rural women from attending. Also, in most rural areas, most women do not know that exclusive breastfeeding can serve as a birth control method. As a result, the researcher intends to investigate the awareness and perception on exclusive breastfeeding as a birth control method among pregnant women attending antenatal clinic in rural communities.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE PROBLEM
The primary objective of this study is to investigate the awareness and perception on exclusive breastfeeding as a birth control method among pregnant women attending antenatal clinic in rural communities. Specifically, but not limited to, this study seeks to:
i. To determine the attendance level of women in rural areas to antenatal classes
ii. Examine the level of awareness among pregnant women attending antenatal clinic in rural communities on exclusive breastfeeding as a birth control method.
iii. Examine the level of accuracy of this method of birth control among women in the rural areas.
iv. To determine if women in the rural areas use other types of birth control.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
i. What is the attendance level of pregnant women in rural areas to antenatal classes?
ii. To what level are pregnant women attending antenatal clinic in rural communities aware of exclusive breastfeeding as a birth control method?
iii. How accurate is this method of birth control among women in the rural areas?
iv. Do women in the rural areas use other types of birth control?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will be greatly beneficial to the health sector as it will reveal the importance of antenatal classes. This study will also be significant to pregnant women especially first time mothers as this study will reveal the importance of exclusive breastfeeding, antenatal classes and the importance of family planning.
This study will also be beneficial to the scholars and the students as it will serve as an existing material for further research and future reference.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study will be focusing on the awareness and perception on exclusive breastfeeding as a birth control method among pregnant women attending antenatal clinic in rural communities. It will also be specifically focused on examining the level of awareness, the level of accuracy of this method of birth control among women in the rural areas and determine if women in the rural areas use other types of birth control.
This study will be using women of Ibeno LGA as enrolled participants for this study.
1.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study will be limited to the awareness and perception on exclusive breastfeeding as a birth control method among pregnant women attending antenatal clinic in rural communities. It will also be specifically limited to examining the level of awareness, the level of accuracy of this method of birth control among women in the rural areas and determine if women in the rural areas use other types of birth control.
This study will be using women of Ibeno LGA as enrolled participants for this study. This serves as a delimitation to this study.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Awareness: knowledge or perception of a situation or fact.
Exclusive Breastfeeding: Exclusive breastfeeding means that the infant receives only breast milk
Birth Control Method: Birth control, also known as contraception, anticonception, and fertility control, is a method or device used to prevent pregnancy. Birth control has been used since ancient times, but effective and safe methods of birth control only became available in the 20th century.
Antenatal Clinic: It is provided in the form of medical checkups, consisting of recommendations on managing a healthy lifestyle and the provision of medical information such as maternal physiological changes in pregnancy, biological changes, and prenatal nutrition including prenatal vitamins, which prevents potential health problems throughout the course of the pregnancy and promotes the mother and child's health alike.