Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice

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Exclusive breastfeedingand postnatal changes in maternal anthropometry

A.A Okechukwu, E.C Okpe, A.A Okolo


To evaluate the impact of exclusive breastfeeding (EBFing) practice on maternal anthropometry during the first 6months of birth. Measurement of weight, height, triceps skin-fold thickness (TST), and mid-arm circumference (MAC) was carried out in a matched cohort of women practicing EBFing and those using other methods of infant feeding (non-EBFing group ) in the first sixmonths after delivery. There were 322 women practicing EBFing and 205 in the non-EBFing group. Weight loss was significantly higher among the EBFing group than in the non-EBFing ones during the first six months of EBFing practice (4.13Vs 1.06kg), p<0.05. This was primarily due to average weight loss of 3.43kg in EBFing mothers in the last 3-6 months of EBFing practice. There was also a significant loss in MAC in the EBFing mothers than in the non-EBFing one (2.78Vs 0.75cm), (p<0.05).Whereas the non-EBFing group experienced an increase in their TST (2.12mm), the EBFing mothers had a mean net loss of -1.03mm, (p<0.05).Apositive correlationwas seen between the frequency of breastfeeding andmaternalweight changes in the EBFing group ( r=0.56, p<0.05) , same was also seen between frequency of breastfeeding and maternal changes in TST and MAC losses in the same group of mothers, (r = 0.08 for TST , and 0.28 for the MAC, p<0.05). The weight/height Z scores (WHZ), an index of thinness and bodymass index (BMI) that determines the nutritional status of an individual however remained within normal limit for both groups of mothers despite their weight loss (WHZ of 0.67, and BMI of 22.09 ± 3.7 kg/m ) for EBFingmothers, and (WHZ of 0.71 and BMI of 22.82 ± 3.2 kg/m ) for the non-EBFingmothers. It was concluded that though EBFing enhances morematernal weight loss, the nutritional status of thewomen practicing it however remained normal limit despite theirweight loss.

Keywords: Exclusive breastfeeding, non exclusive breastfeeding, maternal anthropometry, weight, tricep skinfold thickness,mid-armcircumference.

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