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, 16 (1), 209

Prevalence and Factors Associated With Cracked Nipples in the First Month Postpartum


Prevalence and Factors Associated With Cracked Nipples in the First Month Postpartum

Kamila Juliana da Silva Santos et al. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth.


Background: To assess the prevalence and factors associated with the occurrence of cracked nipples in the first month postpartum.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study nested in a cohort of mothers living in Feira de Santana, state of Bahia, northeastern Brazil. Data from 1,243 mother-child dyads assessed both at the maternity ward and 30 days after delivery were analyzed. The association between cracked nipples as reported by mothers and their possible determinants was analyzed using Poisson regression in a model where the variables were hierarchically organized into four levels: distal (individual characteristics), distal intermediate (prenatal characteristics), proximal intermediate (delivery characteristics), and proximal (postnatal characteristics).

Results: The prevalence of cracked nipples was 32 % (95 % confidence interval [95 % CI] 29.4-34.7) in the first 30 days postpartum. The following factors showed significant association with the outcome: poor breastfeeding technique (prevalence ratio [PR] = 3.18, 95 % CI 2.72-3.72); breast engorgement (PR = 1.70, 95 % CI 1.46-1.99); birth in a maternity ward not accredited by the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (PR = 1.51, 95 % CI 1.15-1.99); cesarean section (PR = 1.33, 95 % CI 1.13-1.57); use of a feeding bottle (PR = 1.29, 95 % CI 1.06-1.55); and higher maternal education level (PR = 1.23, 95 % CI 1.04-1.47).

Conclusions: The prevalence of cracked nipples was high in our sample. Most of the factors associated with cracked nipples were related to postnatal characteristics, especially poor breastfeeding technique, which could be improved to help prevent the condition.

Keywords: Breastfeeding; Lactation disorders; Nipple injuries.


Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Hierarchical model of factors potentially associated with cracked nipples

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