Experiences of birth and breastfeeding following assisted conception

Breastfeed Rev. 2013 Mar;21(1):9-15.


The short and long-term benefits that breastfeeding has for both infant and mother are well recognised. With births increasingly occurring as a result of assisted conception (AC) technologies, the impact that these treatments have on a woman's experience of breastfeeding is an important issue to explore. This paper reports findings from a qualitative study exploring this association. Women who had undergone AC and planned to give birth at one private institution in regional Queensland, Australia, were approached to participate in this study (n = 12). Utilising narrative enquiry in the form of pre and post-birth interviews, participants' accounts of their experiences of breastfeeding were analysed as a means of understanding and representing their journeys. Findings demonstrated that during pregnancy the women were focused on healthy outcomes, showing ambivalence towards the mode of birth. There was a determination to breastfeed that was seen as one way to counteract the intervention and medicalisation they had undergone to conceive. Postnatally, for a number of women in the study breastfeeding difficulties were experienced--a finding that supports recent research. Further mixed method investigation into the impact that assisted conception has on breastfeeding intention, initiation and ability is indicated.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anecdotes as Topic
  • Breast Feeding / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Behavior / psychology*
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Mothers / psychology
  • Postpartum Period / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome / psychology*
  • Queensland
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted / psychology*
  • Social Support*