Severe physical violence between intimate partners during pregnancy: a risk factor for early cessation of exclusive breast-feeding

Public Health Nutr. 2011 Dec;14(12):2148-55. doi: 10.1017/S1368980011000802. Epub 2011 May 24.


Objective: To investigate the role of severe physical violence during pregnancy (SPVP) between intimate partners in early cessation of exclusive breast-feeding (EBF).

Design: A health services survey. The revised Conflict Tactics Scale was used to characterize SPVP; premature breast-feeding cessation was identified using a current status data approach, which was based on the information reported from food recall during the preceding 7 d. The cumulative hazard function was estimated by complementary log-log transformation models, which allowed the ensuing estimation of early breast-feeding cessation rates in different age groups and the ratio of rates of weaning between women exposed and not exposed to violence.

Setting: Five large public primary health-care facilities of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Subjects: The sample comprised 811 randomly selected mothers of children under 5 months of age who were waiting to be consulted.

Results: SPVP is an independent risk factor of cessation of EBF since, after controlling for socio-economic, demographic, reproductive and lifestyle variables, women exposed to violence presented an incidence density that was 31% higher than those who were not exposed (hazard ratio = 1·30, 95% CI 1·01, 1·69).

Conclusions: The findings corroborate the hypothesis that SPVP is an important risk factor for EBF. This indicates the need for incentives to adequately train health-care personnel in dealing with lactating women in order to gain a broader view of breast-feeding beyond the biological aspects of lactation, including the maternal psychological dimension.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Breast Feeding* / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Lactation
  • Life Style
  • Mothers
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Pregnancy*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Partners*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Spouse Abuse / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult